Intercontinental divergence in the Populus-associated ectomycorrhizal fungus, Tricholoma populinum

Lisa C. Grubisha, Nicholas Levsen, Matthew S. Olson, D. Lee Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


• The ectomycorrhizal fungus Tricholoma populinum is host-specific with Populus species. T. populinum has wind-dispersed progagules and may be capable of long-distance dispersal. In this study, we tested the hypothesis of a panmictic population between Scandinavia and North America. • DNA sequences from five nuclear loci were used to assess phylogeographic structure and nucleotide divergence between continents. • Tricholoma populinum was composed of Scandinavian and North American lineages with complete absence of shared haplotypes and only one shared nucleotide mutation. Divergence of these lineages was estimated at approx. 1.7-1.0million yr ago (Ma), which occurred after the estimated divergence of host species Populus tremula and Populusbalsamifera/Populustrichocarpa at 5 Ma. Phylogeographic structure was not observed within Scandinavian or North American lineages of T. populinum. • Intercontinental divergence appears to have resulted from either allopatric isolation; a recent, rare long-distance dispersal founding event followed by genetic drift; or the response in an obligate mycorrhizal fungus with a narrow host range to contractions and expansion of host distribution during glacial and interglacial episodes within continents. Understanding present genetic variation in populations is important for predicting how obligate symbiotic fungi will adapt to present and future changing climatic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-560
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Host specificity
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Obligate symbiont
  • Phylogeography
  • Tricholoma populinum


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