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  1. Abstract

    Bacterial and fungal root endophytes can impact the fitness of their host plants, but the relative importance of drivers for root endophyte communities is not well known. Host plant species, the composition and density of the surrounding plants, space, and abiotic drivers could significantly affect bacterial and fungal root endophyte communities. We investigated their influence in endophyte communities of alpine plants across a harsh high mountain landscape using high-throughput sequencing. There was less compositional overlap between fungal than bacterial root endophyte communities, with four ‘cosmopolitan’ bacterial OTUs found in every root sampled, but no fungal OTUs found across all samples. We found that host plant species, which included nine species from three families, explained the greatest variation in root endophyte composition for both bacterial and fungal communities. We detected similar levels of variation explained by plant neighborhood, space, and abiotic drivers on both communities, but the plant neighborhood explained less variation in fungal endophytes than expected. Overall, these findings suggest a more cosmopolitan distribution of bacterial OTUs compared to fungal OTUs, a structuring role of the plant host species for both communities, and largely similar effects of the plant neighborhood, abiotic drivers, and space on both communities.

  2. Abstract

    Coastal systems are immensely valuable to humans. They contain unique ecosystems that are biodiversity reservoirs and provide key ecosystem services as well as a wealth of cultural heritage. Despite their importance to humans, many coastal systems are experiencing degradation that threatens their integrity and provisioning of services. While much is known about the plant communities and associated wildlife in coastal areas, the importance of microorganisms represents a large knowledge gap. Here we review the ecology of plant-microbial symbioses in coastal systems, including mycorrhizae, nitrogen fixers, endophytes, rhizosphere microbes, and pathogens. We focus on four common coastal communities: sand dunes, marshes, mangroves, and forests/shrublands. We also assess recent research and the potential for using microbes in coastal restoration efforts to mitigate anthropogenic impacts. We find that microbial symbionts are largely responsible for the health of plants constituting the foundation of coastal communities by affecting plant establishment, growth, competitive ability, and stress tolerance, as well as modulating biogeochemical cycling in these stressful coastal systems. Current use of microbial symbionts to augment restoration of stressful and degraded coastal systems is still very much in its infancy; however, it holds great promise for increasing restoration success on the coast. Much research is stillmore »needed to test and develop microbial inocula for facilitating restoration of different coastal systems. This is an excellent opportunity for collaboration between restoration practitioners and microbial ecologists to work toward a common goal of enhancing resilience of our coastal ecosystems at a time when these systems are vulnerable to an increasing number of threats.

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  3. Battipaglia, Giovanna (Ed.)