Model groups of fungi

Project objective are model fungal groups with three different strategies: ectomycorrhizal, parasitic and lichenised. Each trophic group is represented by 15 to 25 selected European species and contains members with distribution centres in Mediterranean zone of Southern Europe, temperate zone of Central Europe and boreal and arctic-alpine zone of Northern Europe.

Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi form symbiosis with root tips of vascular plants, usually with forest trees. Their diversity depends mainly on climatic and edaphic factors and is highest in temperate belt (Tedersoo et al. 2012). Some studies suggest that their diversity at a small area along elevation or latitudinal gradient depends on presence of potential mycorrhizal partners, that in mainly influenced by climate change (Timling et al. 2012; Bahram et al. 2012). Large genetic diversity of mycelia (genets) at individual localities suggest that ECM fungi spread at larger distances exclusively by spores (Bergemann and Miller 2002). ECM fungi will be represented by the basidiomycete genus Russula, specifically subsections Maculatinae and Xerampelinae. Geographically isolated areas has very different Russula diversity (Hampe et al. 2014).

Parasitic fungi are represented by selected powdery mildews (family Erysiphaceae). They grow on leave surface, stems, non-lignified sprouts, flowers and fruits of host plants. They have narrow biological specialisation, they occur only host plants of particular families, genera or species (Braun and Cook 2012). Several powdery mildews grow in all distribution area of host plant, others are restricted to some climatic zone. Distribution area of most species is limited to individual continents or large areas, only few species are circumpolar. The highest diversity of powdery mildews is in areas with mild and humid climate. Their frequency and diversity decline towards equator and poles (Paulech 1995). Knowledge of geographic distribution of some commercially important powdery mildews is growing quickly, but the diversity at larger geographical areas is little known (Glawe 2008). In this project, we will study European powdery mildews growing on forest trees of genera Alnus, Betula, Fraxinus, Quercus, Salix and Ulmus.

Lichenised fungi are complex organisms. Their thallus is composed of species specific fungal component (mycobiont) that forms symbiosis with photosynthetic partner (cyanobacteria, algae) (Smith et al. 2009). This strategy enable them to exist in habitats not suitable for other organisms, e.g. because of cold climate, malnutrition or both (Muggia et al. 2013). Lichens directly react to climate factors (Chytrý et al. 2008) and climate changers (Lang et al. 2012), they require substrate only for attachment of their thali. The project objectives are lichenised fungi of genera Placynthium and Solenopsora growing on stony substrates. In addition to sexual reproduction (spores), they form also specialised vegetative organs soredia, izidia and blastidia (Jørgensen 2007; Czeika and Czeika 2007; Guttová et al. 2014).