Foliar Endophyte – Pathogen Interactions



Counting aphids in a Tall Fescue climate manipulation plot.

My work has demonstrated that the protective mutualists, foliar endophytic fungi, altered host response to pathogen pressure and decreased vector abundance (Rúa et al. 2013 J of Ecology). This pattern did not extend to field studies where endophytic fungi had no significant effect on the odds of virus infection unless precipitation was increased. Precipitation decreased overall viral prevalence for plants in this system during the course of the final growing season, but it had a relative positive effect for endophyte-infected plants (Rúa et al. 2014 J of Ecology).

Collaborators: Rebecca McCulley (UK), Charles Mitchell (UNC)


Rúa, M.A., McCulley, R.L., Mitchell, C.E. 2013. Fungal endophyte infection and host genetic background jointly modulate host response to an aphid-transmitted viral pathogen. Journal of Ecology. 101:1007-1018.

Rúa, M.A., McCulley, R.L., Mitchell, C.E. 2014. Climate drivers, host identity, and fungal endophyte infection determine virus prevalence in a grassland ecosystem. Journal of Ecology.102:690-699.

Relevant Links:
University of Kentucky Spindletop Agricultural Farm