Fusarium communities play important functional roles in soil and in plants as pathogens, endophytes, and saprotrophs. This study tests how rhizosphere Fusarium communities may vary with plant species, changes in the diversity of the surrounding plant community, and soil physiochemical characteristics. Fusarium communities in soil associated with the roots of two perennial prairie plant species maintained as monocultures or growing within polyculture plant communities were characterized using targeted metagenomics. Amplicon libraries targeting the RPB2 locus were generated from rhizosphere soil DNAs and sequenced using pyrosequencing. Sequences were clustered into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and assigned a taxonomy using the Evolutionary Placement Algorithm. Fusarium community composition was differentiated between monoculture and polyculture plant communities, and by plant species in monoculture, but not in polyculture. Taxonomic classification of the Fusarium OTUs showed a predominance of F. Tricinctum and F. Oxysporum as well of the presence of a clade previously only found in the Southern Hemisphere. Total Fusarium richness was not affected by changes in plant community richness or correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics. However, OTU richness within two predominant phylogenetic lineages within the genus was positively or negatively correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics among samples within each lineage. This work shows that plant species, plant community richness, and soil physiochemical characteristics may all influence the composition and richness of Fusarium communities in soil.
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We would like to thank Adil Essarioui for aiding in field sampling and the individuals responsible for the maintenance of the LTER Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. We also wish to thank Christine Wright at the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center as well as Georgiana May for providing feedback on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Research was supported by Agricultural and Food Research Grant Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-67019-30200 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
© 2017 The Mycological Society of America.