New Phytol. 231 (5) 1770-1783 [2021-09-00; online 2021-06-18]
Leaves interact with a wealth of microorganisms. Among these, fungi are highly diverse and are known to contribute to plant health, leaf senescence and early decomposition. However, patterns and drivers of the seasonal dynamics of foliar fungal communities are poorly understood. We used a multifactorial experiment to investigate the influence of warming and tree genotype on the foliar fungal community on the pedunculate oak Quercus robur across one growing season. Fungal species richness increased, evenness tended to decrease, and community composition strongly shifted during the growing season. Yeasts increased in relative abundance as the season progressed, while putative fungal pathogens decreased. Warming decreased species richness, reduced evenness and changed community composition, especially at the end of the growing season. Warming also negatively affected putative fungal pathogens. We only detected a minor imprint of tree genotype and warming × genotype interactions on species richness and community composition. Overall, our findings demonstrate that warming plays a larger role than plant genotype in shaping the seasonal dynamics of the foliar fungal community on oak. These warming-induced shifts in the foliar fungal community may have a pronounced impact on plant health, plant-fungal interactions and ecosystem functions.