Little is currently known about the assemblage of Phytophthora species in northeastern North America, representing a gap in our understanding of species incidence. Therefore, Phytophthora species were surveyed at 20 sites in Massachusetts, with 16 occurring in the Connecticut River Valley. Many of the sampled waterways were adjacent to active agricultural lands, yet were buffered by mature floodplain forests composed of Acer, Platanus, Populus and Ulmus. Isolates were recovered with three types of baits (rhododendron leaves, pear, green pepper) in 2013 and water filtration in 2014. Overall, 457 isolates of Phytophthora were recovered and based on morphological characters and rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS), β-tubulin (β-tub) and cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (cox1) sequences, 18 taxa were identified, including three new species: P. taxon intercalaris, P. taxon caryae and P. taxon pocumtuck. In addition, 49 isolates representing five species of Phytopythium also were identified. Water filtration captured a greater number of taxa (18) compared to leaf and fruit baits (12). Of the three bait types rhododendron leaves yielded the greatest number of isolates and taxa, followed by pear and green pepper, respectively. Despite the proximity to agricultural lands, none of the Phytophthora species baited are considered serious pathogens of vegetable crops in the region. However, many of the recovered species are known woody plant pathogens, including four species in the P. citricola s.l. complex that were identified: P. plurivora, P. citricola III, P. pini and a putative novel species, referred to here as P. taxon caryae. An additional novel species, P. taxon pocumtuck, is a close relative of P. borealis based on cox1 sequences. The results illustrate a high level of Phytophthora species richness in the Connecticut River Valley and that major rivers can serve as a source of inoculum for pathogenic Phytophthora species in the northeast.
Keywords: cytochrome oxidase; floodplain forests; oomycetes; β-tubulin.
© 2016 by The Mycological Society of America.