Environ. Microbiol. - (-) - [2022-03-22; online 2022-03-22]
The factors shaping the composition of the tree mycobiome are still under investigation. We tested the effects of host genotype, site, host phenotypic traits, and air fungal spore communities on the assembly of the fungi inhabiting Norway spruce needles. We used Norway spruce clones and spore traps within the collection sites and characterized both needle and air mycobiome communities by high-throughput sequencing of the ITS2 region. The composition of the needle mycobiome differed between Norway spruce clones, and clones with high genetic similarity had a more similar mycobiome. The needle mycobiome also varied across sites and was associated with the composition of the local air mycobiome and climate. Phenotypic traits such as diameter at breast height or crown health influenced the needle mycobiome to a lesser extent than host genotype and air mycobiome. Altogether, our results suggest that the needle mycobiome is mainly driven by the host genotype in combination with the composition of the local air spore communities. Our work highlights the role of host intraspecific variation in shaping the mycobiome of trees and provides new insights on the ecological processes structuring fungal communities inhabiting woody plants.