Fungal endophytes associated with Myrtaceae from Brazil and Argentina were isolated at three levels of nesting: leaf, individual host trees, and site collection. The alternating logistic regression (ALR) was used to model the data because it offers a computationally convenient method for fitting regression structures involving large clusters. The objectives of this study were to determine: (i) whether the colonization pattern is influenced by environmental variables, (ii) if there is some leaf part they prefer to colonize; (iii) if there is some fungal endophyte aggregation between hierarchical levels; (iv) what the distance effect is on the fungal association. The environmental variables were statistically significant only for Xylaria, i.e., when the elevation and water precipitation increase and the temperature decreases, the odds ratio of finding another fungal endophyte of that genus previously found increases. Sordariomycetes, Xylariales, and Xylaria exhibited leaf fragment preference to petiole and tip. Fungal endophytes showed association within leaf. The horizontal transmission mode and the dispersal limitation may explain this association at the leaf level. Moreover, our results suggest that when a fungal endophyte infects a leaf or host tree individual, the odds ratio of dispersal inside them is greater.
Keywords: Alternating logistic regression; Clustered responses; Endophytic fungi; Fungal distribution; Statistical modelling.
Copyright © 2013 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.