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FABI Articles : New species, hyper-diversity and potential importance of Calonectria spp. from Eucalyptus in South China

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12 February, 2015

New species, hyper-diversity and potential importance of Calonectria spp. from Eucalyptus in South China

L. Lombard, S.F. Chen, X. Mou X.D. Zhou P.W. Crous and M.J. Wingfield


Plantation forestry is expanding rapidly in China to meet an increasing demand for wood and pulp products globally. Fungal pathogens including species of Calonectria represent a serious threat to the growth and sustainability of this industry. Surveys were conducted in the Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces of South China, where Eucalyptus trees in plantations or cuttings in nurseries displayed symptoms of leaf blight. Isolations from symptomatic leaves and soils collected close to infected trees resulted in a large collection of Calonectria isolates. These isolates were identified using the Consolidated Species Concept, employing morphological characters and DNA sequence comparisons for the β-tubulin, calmodulin, histone H3 and translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene regions. Twenty-one Calonectria species were identified of which 18 represented novel taxa. Of these, 12 novel taxa belonged to Sphaero-Naviculate Group and the remaining six to the Prolate Group. Southeast Asia appears to represent a centre of biodiversity for the Sphaero-Naviculate Group and this fact could be one of the important constraints to Eucalyptus forestry in China. The remarkable diversity of Calonectria species in a relatively small area of China and associated with a single tree species is surprising.

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