Host plant genetics affect hidden ecological players: Links among Populus, condensed tannins, and fungal endophyte infection

Joseph K. Bailey, Ron Deckert, Jennifer A. Schweitzer, Brian J. Rehill, Richard L. Lindroth, Catherine A Gehring, Thomas G Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown effects of host plant genetics on community and ecosystem processes, which makes understanding the impacts of genetically based traits on hidden or non-apparent organisms more important. Here we examined links among genetic variation in hybrid cottonwoods, plant phytochemistry, and twig fungal endophytes (i.e., a common hidden organism). We found three major patterns: (1) twig fungal endophyte infection was positively related to the introgression of Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii S. Wats.) RFLP genetic markers, (2) condensed tannin concentration in twig bark tissue was negatively correlated to the introgression of Fremont genetic markers, and (3) fungal endophyte infection was negatively related to condensed tannin concentration in twig bark. These data demonstrate that plant genotype can impact hidden ecological players (i.e., fungal endophytes) resulting in community and ecosystem consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-361
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005



  • Ecological genetics
  • Fungal endophytes
  • Hidden players
  • Hybridization
  • Populus
  • Tannins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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