Phylogenetic and functional patterns of host plants and their associated fungi: implications for symbiotic co-evolution, community interactions, and ecosystem processes

Hilary Callahan. Department of Biological Sciences, Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027; Phone: 212-854-5405;

Louise Comas. Intercollege Graduate Program in Ecology Department of Horticulture The Pennsylvania State University, 103 Tyson Bldg, University Park, PA 16902; Phone: 814-865-0697 ; FAX: 814-863-6139;

Amy Tuininga. Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University, 441 E. Fordham Rd., Bronx, NY 10458; Phone: 914-273-3078, ext. 13; Fax: 914-273-2167;


There is growing appreciation of plant-fungal interactions as important forces structuring communities and affecting ecosystem processes. Nearly all plants form associations with fungi and have since the first plants colonized terrestrial landscapes. Current and impending global climate change has compelled us to better understand the history and nature of these interactions, how they have directed plant-fungal co-evolution, ultimately affecting community interactions and ecosystem function. This line up of speakers will present emerging hypotheses on evolutionary processes governing the co-evolution of symbioses between plants and fungi, and evidence of phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns found among plants and fungi and their implications, facilitation of symbionts in structuring communities, and impacts on ecosystem processes.

List of potential speakers


Louise Comas, Penn State and Hilary Callahan, Barnard, Columbia (introduction)

Topic: Co-evolution of plant-fungal interactions;, (confirmed)


Jamie Lamit*, Kitty Gehring and Nancy Johnson, Northern Arizona University

Topic: Resources, allocation & co-evolution as drivers of functioning in mycorrhizal interactions;,, (confirmed)


Betsy Arnold, University of Arizona

Topic: Evolutionary perspectives on the origins of endophytic fungi; (confirmed)


Kabir Peay* and Tom Bruns, University of California - Berkeley

Topic: Dispersal, functional traits: phylogenetics in ectomycorrhizal community assembly;, (confirmed)


Coffee break, 30 minutes


Jeri Parrent* and John Klironomos, University of Guelph

Topic: Relationship between plants, fungi and other soil organisms, and the functioning of ecosystems; influence of phylogeny on fungal community assembly and ecosystem functioning; JPARRENT@UOGUELPH.CA, (confirmed)


Martin Bidartondo, Imperial College London & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England

Topic: Specificity in mycorrhizal symbioses; (confirmed)


Peter Avis, Indiana University Northwest

Topic: Causes and consequences of epidemic growth in mycorrhizal fungi and their role in structuring plant communities in response to global change events; (confirmed)


Amy Tuininga, Fordham University (conclusion and opening of discussion)

Topic: Conclusions: Fungal biodiversity and community structure and effects on ecosystem processes; (confirmed)


Discussion, 30 minutes


* indicates speaker