Phytophthora Beyond Agriculture
Everett M. Hansen, Paul W. Reeser, and Wendy Sutton
Vol. 50: 359-378 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-081211-172946
Little is known about indigenous Phytophthora species in natural ecosystems. Increasing evidence, however, suggests that a diverse, trophically complex Phytophthora community is important in many forests. The number of described species has steadily increased, with a dramatic spike in recent years as new species have been split from old and new species have been discovered through exploration of new habitats. Forest soil, streams, and the upper canopies of trees are now being explored for Phytophthora diversity, and a new appreciation for the ecological amplitude of the genus is emerging. Ten to twenty species are regularly identified in temperate forest surveys. Half or more of this Phytophthora diversity comes from species described since 2000. Taxa in internal transcribed spacer (ITS) Clade 6 are especially numerous in forest streams and may be saprophytic in this habitat. Three ecological assemblages of forest Phytophthora species are hypothesized: aquatic opportunists, foliar pathogens, and soilborne fine-root and canker pathogens. Aggressive invasive species are associated with all three groups.