How do phytopathogenic fungi distribute themselves in a cultivated field?
How is the distribution related to the microbial community composition?
How do the interspecific relationships among different microorganisms influence their dispersal?
Are differences in the bacterial community acting as stabilizing or equalizing mechanisms for the coexistence of different phytopathogenic fungi?
These are the key points analysed in this project, which takes, as a study system, the microbial communities living on the wheat ears and their in-field distribution patterns.
The interactions and niche differentiations of two genera of fungi, Alternaria spp. and Fusarium spp., and the effect of the dispersal of antagonistic bacteria such as them belonging to the Pseudomonas spp. will be observed, both in the field and in vitro. In the field we will analyse the natural distribution of the fungi and the competitive bacteria, in order to observe possible niche differentiation and/or equalizing/stabilizing mechanisms that would lead to species coexistence. Microclimatic variables and biotic variables will be utilized as a proxy for testing the microbial dispersal.
In a second part of the project, spore production and dispersal will be also measured. In the laboratory, the competitive and antagonistic activity between the different fungal species and the antagonistic bacteria will be observed and quantified.