Water-borne hyphomycetes in tree canopies of Kaiga (Western Ghats), India

Naga M. Sudheep, Kandikere R. Sridhar


The canopy samples such as trapped leaf litter, trapped sediment (during summer), stemflow and throughfall (during monsoon) from five common riparian tree species (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Cassia fistula, Ficus recemosa, Syzygium caryophyllatum and Xylia xylocarpa) in Kaiga forest stand of the Western Ghats of southwest India were evaluated for the occurrence of water-borne hyphomycetes. Partially decomposed trapped leaf litter was incubated in bubble chambers followed by filtration to assess conidial output. Sediments accumulated in tree holes or junction of branches were shaken with sterile leaf disks in distilled water followed by incubation of leaf disks in bubble chamber and filtration to find out colonized fungi. Stemflow and throughfall samples were filtered directly to collect free conidia. From five canopy niches, a total of 29 water-borne hyphomycetes were recovered. The species richness was higher in stemflow and throughfall than trapped leaf litter and sediments (14-16 vs. 6-10 species). Although sediments of Syzygium caryophyllatum were acidic (5.1), the conidial output was higher than other tree species. Stemflow and throughfall of Xylea xylocarpa even though alkaline (8.5-8.7) showed higher species richness (6-12 species) as well as conidial load than rest of the tree species. Flagellospora curvula and Triscelophorus acuminatus were common in trapped leaf litter and sediments respectively, while conidia of Anguillospora crassa and A. longissima were frequent in stemflow and throughfall. Diversity of water-borne hyphomycetes was highest in throughfall of Xylea xylocarpa followed by throughfall of Ficus recemosa. Our study reconfirms the occurrence and survival of diverse water-borne hyphomycetes in different niches of riparian tree canopies of the Western Ghats during wet and dry regimes and predicts their possible role in canopy as saprophytes, endophytes and alternation of life cycle between canopy and aquatic habitats.


water-borne hyphomycetes; diversity; conidia; canopy; leaf litter; sediment; stemflow; throughfall

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