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Fungal endophyte infection in an alpine meadow: testing the mutualism theory Open Access


Other title
Ochotona collaris
Festuca altaica
collared pika
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cardou, Françoise
Supervisor and department
Hik, David S. (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Vinebrooke, Rolf (Biological Sciences)
Bork, Edward (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences)
Currah, Randolph S. (Biological Sciences)
Department of Biological Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Neotyphodium are fungal endosymbionts of grasses that reproduce asexually by infecting the host’s seed. This relationship has traditionally been considered mutualistic, with the fungus improving host fitness by alleviating important stresses. To determine the importance of biotic and abiotic stresses in mediating the endophyte-grass interaction, I investigated the relationship between grazing pressure by collared pikas and Neotyphodium sp. infection frequency in the grass Festuca altaica in an alpine meadow. I conducted a factorial design experiment combining endophyte infection, grazing history, fungicide and fertilizer. Leaf demography and herbivory damage were monitored every two weeks. In areas with chronic grazing history, infected plants were significantly less productive than uninfected tussocks, but there was no difference at low grazing history. There was no effect of infection on the likelihood of herbivory. Contrary to predictions of the mutualism theory, the Neotyphodium sp. / F. altaica symbiotum varied from parasitic to neutral across our gradient of interest.
License granted by Francoise Cardou ( on 2010-07-31T15:16:44Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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