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Variation in the diversity and abundance of endophytic and mycorrhizal fungi between island and continental populations of Epidendrum fulgens (Orchidaceae)

Grant number: 23/15411-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Fábio Pinheiro
Grantee:Giovana Narezi Trotta
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:22/02667-1 - Ecology and evolution of island plant species: the origin of Ilha de Alcatrazes flora (São Sebastião - SP), AP.PNGP.PI
Associated scholarship(s):23/17832-0 - Diversity and abundance variation of endophytic fungi in the island and continental populations of Epidendrum fulgens (Orchidaceae), BE.EP.IC


Most land plants associate with fungi and these interactions constitute an important part of several ecosystem processes. This interaction is especially present with orchids, since they need fungi for germination and survival. Thus, variations in fungal communities associated with orchids may impact the abundance and distribution of these plants, as well as the coexistence with other species in the environment. Depending on the conditions in which a population is located, the same orchid species may be colonized by different mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi when inhabiting distinct habitats. Epidendrum fulgens (Orchidaceae) has populations that inhabit locations with different environmental conditions, impacting their morphology, genetics and the relationships they have with other organisms. Thus, this project aims to analyze the effects of island geographic isolation and different environmental conditions on the diversity and population composition of endophytic fungi of E. fulgens, which occupies restingas on the mainland and rocky outcrops in the Alcatrazes Archipelago (SP). Our hypotheses are: 1) The fungal diversity in the population from Alcatrazes Island is lower than in continental populations and 2) The populations of fungi colonizing orchids on Alcatrazes Island are distinct from the continental ones, due to different environmental conditions. Through this project, it will be possible to elucidate some of the factors that contribute to the generation of diversity found in naturally fragmented environments, such as marine islands. Through this understanding, tools can be created for native species conservation and restoration practices, essential for rich regions such as the Neotropics.

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