Interannual variation and host affiliations of endophytic fungi associated with ferns at La Selva, Costa Rica

Mariana Del Olmo-Ruiz, A. Elizabeth Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Ferns are an ancient and diverse lineage of vascular plants that differ morphologically, chemically and in growth habits from the angiosperms with which they co-occur. We used a culture-based approach coupled with phylogenetic analyses to characterize the incidence, diversity and composition of fungal endophyte assemblages in ferns, with a focus on healthy aboveground tissues of seven species of eupolypods at La Selva, Costa Rica. Endophytes were isolated from every individual plant and were similarly abundant and diverse in frond blades and stalks, in different vegetation types, in epiphytic vs. terrestrial species, and between sampling years. However, abundance, diversity and community structure differed significantly among fern species, and composition differed markedly between sampling years. Phylogenetic classification using separate and combined datasets revealed that as for many Neotropical angiosperms, the majority (95%) of endophyte taxa were Ascomycota, with particular dominance by Sordariomycetes, Eurotiomycetes and Dothideomycetes. However, our data suggest higher phylogenetic richness and stronger host affinities in fern associated endophytes relative to those studied in angiosperms thus far.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-21
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Ascomycota
  • Diversity
  • Fungal endophytes
  • Host affiliation
  • Tropical forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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