EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Ecological Dynamics > Symbiosis

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  • The majority of Antarctic lichens produce sexual organs, and in many species sexual ascospores appear to be the only reproductive propagule. However, it is unknown whether sexual reproduction involves selfing (homothallism) or outcrossing (heterothallism). To investigate this issue we have established axenic cultures of sexual progeny in order to generate DNA fingerprints and thereby determine the breeding system.

  • The fieldwork involved collection of fertile lichens from a range of sites across the Antarctic Peninsula and isolation of the lichen-forming fungi into pure culture in a laboratory at Rothera. Approximately 5,600 monospore cultures were isolated, including B frigida. Approximately 400 thalli of Usnea species, and 3 O. frigida thalli have also been collected for whole thallus analysis. Logarithmic sampling transects of B frigida were conducted at Rothera (2 transects) and on Anchorage Island (one transect) to examine the genetic variation and geographic variation. All thalli of B frigida collected from the transects were successfully used to generate viable spores from four individual apothecia from each thallus. 16 spores were subcultured and maintained from each apothecium.

  • The data compiles different aspects of plant biology (e.g., anatomy, physiology, fitness and gene-expression) reported in scientific articles that experimentally explored the role of plant microbial symbionts in plant tolerance to chilling (0-15 degrees Celsius) and freezing (<0 degrees Celsius) conditions. Each variable included in the dataset is composed of at least four values, representing the mean of the measured variable with or without a given microbial symbiont and under control or cold conditions in a factorial design. The data were generated for a meta-analysis, and so the level of replication and standard deviation or standard error, plus other relevant information such as plant and microbial species, and source, are also included. The search from which the articles were obtained used ISI-web of Science used ENDOPH* AND COLD and MYCORRHIZA* AND COLD in both title and keyword fields from 1975 to 2019. Funding was provided by Posdoctoral-FONDECYT 3180441, FONDECYT 11140607 and the NERC-CONICYT awards (NE/P003079/1 - PII20150126)

  • Three plant species, the leafy liverwort Cephaloziella varians and the angiosperms Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis, were sampled from 12 islands across a 1480 km latitudinal gradient from South Georgia through to Adelaide Island. Samples were collected to determine the abundance of dark septate fungi in Antarctic plant and soil communities and the effects of these organisms on plant growth. Where the target species were found in sufficient numbers to allow sampling, it proved possible to collect at least 10 samples of each species. At least 10 soil samples were collected from each site where Deschampsia was found. Plants, with intact roots and soil, were transported back to the UK using cool and frozen stowage. Additionally, intact live plants were transported to the UK in an illuminated cabinet. Seeds of the two key species (Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis) were also collected at Bird Island and South Georgia. As the exact months of the data collection were not provided, and the metadata standard requires a YYYY-MM-DD format, this dataset has been dated as 1st January for start date, and 31st December for stop date.

  • This study investigated the status of dark septate (DS) fungi in Antarctic plant and soil communities, with the aim of determining the abundance of DS fungi in plant roots and rhizoids, their taxonomic affinities and their symbiotic status. Abundances of fungal hyphae were recorded in roots and rhizoids, and fungi were isolated and identified. Sequencing of ITS (internal transcribed spacer) regions of rDNA indicated that some isolates share taxonomic affinities with fungi of known symbiotic status. Synthesis experiments assessed the effects of DS fungal isolates, including H. ericae, on the growth and nutrient balance of their host plants. Seeds of Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis were collected for use in ecophysiological experiments.