First Advisor

Todd N. Rosenstiel

Date of Publication

Fall 1-7-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology






Fungal communities, Fungi -- Ecophysiology, Bryophytes



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 51 pages)


Mosses display a number of hallmark life history traits that influence their ecology at the population and community level. The long lived separation of sexes observed in the haploid gametophyte (dioicy) is one such feature of particular importance, as it is observed in the majority of bryophytes and creates intraspecific specialization of male and female individuals.

The prevalence of sexually dimorphic mosses raises the possibility of sex-specific interactions with fungi as observed in some vascular plants. Here I investigated how moss sex shapes fungal communities associated with gametophytic tissues of the ubiquitous moss, Ceratodon purpureus. Using greenhouse populations of C. purpureus grown in a common garden, I examined fungal community structure and overall abundance of fungal biomass associated with male and female individuals from multiple populations. I hypothesized that individual mosses would harbor unique fungal communities based on their sex, and that overall fungal biomass associated with host tissues would differ significantly due to differences in morphological and physiological characteristics between the sexes. I found that fungal community composition and overall abundance (i.e. biomass) differ between male and female individuals of C. purpureus, and that sex-specific patterns are retained across individuals from three different populations. This work provides a first glance at how genetically based sexual systems in early land plants influence affiliated fungal community composition.


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