Changes in the Microbial Community of Pinus arizonica Saplings After Being Colonized by the Bark Beetle Dendroctonus rhizophagus (Curculionidae: Scolytinae)

Roman Gonzalez-Escobedo, Carlos I. Briones-Roblero, María Fernanda López, Flor N. Rivera-Orduña, Gerardo Zúñiga

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    The death of trees is an ecological process that promotes regeneration, organic matter recycling, and the structure of communities. However, diverse biotic and abiotic factors can disturb this process. Dendroctonus bark beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) are natural inhabitants of pine forests, some of which produce periodic outbreaks, killing thousands of trees in the process. These insects spend almost their entire life cycle under tree bark, where they reproduce and feed on phloem. Tunneling and feeding of the beetles result in the death of the tree and an alteration of the resident microbiota as well as the introduction of microbes that the beetles vector. To understand how microbial communities in subcortical tissues of pines change after they are colonized by the bark beetle Dendroctonus rhizophagus, we compare both the bacterial and fungal community structures in two colonization stages of Pinus arizonica (Arizona pine) employing Illumina MiSeq. Our findings showed significant differences in diversity and the dominance of bacterial community in the two colonization stages with Shannon (P = 0.004) and Simpson (P = 0.0006) indices, respectively, but not in species richness with Chao1 (P = 0.19). In contrast, fungal communities in both stages showed significant differences in species richness with Chao1 (P = 0.0003) and a diversity with Shannon index (P = 0.038), but not in the dominance with the Simpson index (P = 0.12). The β-diversity also showed significant changes in the structure of bacterial and fungal communities along the colonization stages, maintaining the dominant members in both cases. Our results suggest that microbial communities present in the Arizona pine at the tree early colonization stage by bark beetle change predictably over time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-112
    Number of pages11
    JournalMicrobial Ecology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 15 Jul 2019


    • Arizona pine
    • Bacteria
    • Bark beetle
    • Fungi
    • Microbial structure

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