Effects of a Fungal Endophyte on Resource Allocation in the Grass Lolium arundinaceum and Elymus Canadensis
Dr. Thomas Bultman
Neotyphodium is a fungus that grows in above ground tissues, also known as tillers, of grasses such as Lolium arundaceum and Elymus Canadensis. The fungus reproduces by growing into the seeds of the plant. This sort of symbiont reproduction is called vertical transmission, as it is transmitted to the next generation of the plant. The relationship between the fungus and these plants has been thought to be a defensive mutualism, but an alternative relationship known as sexual parasitism has been proposed. I measured the relative sizes of the reproductive tissues from within the flowers, as well as counted the amount of pollen produced by infected versus uninfected plants to test between these two hypotheses. I found that infection status tends to affect male function but not female function along with the trend for infected plants to allocated more resources to female function, particularly in Elymus plants.
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