Niche sharing reflects a poorly understood biodiversity phenomenon

P.W. Crous, M.J. Wingfield, J.Z. Groenewald

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Eucalyptus spp. are susceptible to a large number of foliar pathogens, some of which can cause serious defoliation and die-back. In this study, a single leaf spot on a Eucalyptus leaf collected in Madagascar revealed an unusual association of microfungi with disease symptoms. Initial observations indicated that the leaf spot was associated with Mycosphaerella marksii, a common pathogen of eucalypts. However, more intensive scrutiny showed the presence of several other microfungi co-occurring in this, and other leaf spots on the leaf. A total of 41 single conidial propagules were subsequently obtained from a single lesion for morphological study and DNA sequence comparisons. Based on these data, 11 members of the Capnodiales, including one species of Pestalotiopsis (Xylariales), were observed. Of the capnodialean taxa, nine could be cultivated, which revealed one known species, M. marksii, two taxa in the Cladosporium cladosporioides species complex that were not treated here, and six new species, including Passalora intermedia, Pseudocercospora madagascariensis, Teratosphaeria hortaea, Toxicacladosporium chlamydosporum, T. rubrigenum and T. veloxum. Results of this study highlight a remarkable fungal biodiversity that can occur within a very specific niche. Furthermore, the results emphasise the importance of verifying the identity of fungal isolates in culture, as many taxa, especially those of the Capnodiales, frequently co-occur in the same niche, lesion or leaf spot.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-94
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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