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Keywords:

  • endophyte;
  • epiphyte;
  • foliar;
  • fungi;
  • Quercus;
  • urbanization

Summary

  • The fungal richness, diversity and community composition in the Quercus macrocarpa phyllosphere were compared across a growing season in trees located in six stands within and outside a small urban center using 454-sequencing and DNA tagging. The approaches did not differentiate between endophytic and epiphytic fungal communities.
  • Fungi accumulated in the phyllosphere rapidly and communities were temporally dynamic, with more than a third of the analyzed operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and half of the BLAST-inferred genera showing distinct seasonal patterns. The seasonal patterns could be explained by fungal life cycles or environmental tolerances.
  • The communities were hyperdiverse and differed between the urban and nonurban stands, albeit not consistently across the growing season. Foliar macronutrients (nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and sulfur (S)), micronutrients (boron (B), manganese (Mn) and selenium (Se)) and trace elements (cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn)) were enriched in the urban trees, probably as a result of anthropogenic activities. Because of correlations with the experimental layout, these chemical elements should not be considered as community drivers without further empirical studies.
  • We suggest that a combination of mechanisms leads to differences between urban and nonurban communities. Among those are stand isolation and size, nutrient and pollutant accumulation plus stand management, including fertilization and litter removal.