Fifteen tree species from a tropical dry thorn forest and fifteen tree species from a tropical dry deciduous forest in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, southern India, were surveyed for their foliar endophyte communities during the dry and wet seasons. Surface sterilized leaf segments of uniform dimension were plated on nutrient agar and culturable endophytes growing from the segments were identified. Endophyte diversity was greater in the dry thorn forest than in the dry deciduous forest in the dry season. Although the isolation frequency of culturable endophytes increased for both forests during the wet season, the assemblages were represented not by any unique fungal species but by the commonly occurring ones. Furthermore, although individual leaves were densely colonized by endophytes, only a few species of endophytes colonized the whole leaves; and, only a few fungal species dominated the foliar endophytic communities and were common for both forests during both dry and wet seasons. Thus, even under wet conditions that favour dispersal and infection by fungi, the endophyte diversity increased only marginally, an indication that certain tropical forests are not hyperdiverse with reference to fungal endophytes. This should be considered when using culturable endophyte diversity as a surrogate for estimating global fungal diversity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science