Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Antarctic Glacial Meltwater Impacts the Diversity of Fungal Parasites Associated With Benthic Diatoms in Shallow Coastal Zones

List of AuthorsIlicic Doris, Woodhouse Jason, Karsten Ulf, Zimmermann Jonas, Wichard Thomas, Quartino Maria Liliana, Campana Gabriela Laura, Livenets Alexandra, Van den Wyngaert Silke, Grossart Hans-Peter


Publication year2022

JournalFrontiers in Microbiology


Journal acronymFRONT MICROBIOL

Article number 805694

Volume number13

Number of pages12



Self-archived copy’s web address

Aquatic ecosystems are frequently overlooked as fungal habitats, although there is increasing evidence that their diversity and ecological importance are greater than previously considered. Aquatic fungi are critical and abundant components of nutrient cycling and food web dynamics, e.g., exerting top-down control on phytoplankton communities and forming symbioses with many marine microorganisms. However, their relevance for microphytobenthic communities is almost unexplored. In the light of global warming, polar regions face extreme changes in abiotic factors with a severe impact on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, this study aimed to describe, for the first time, fungal diversity in Antarctic benthic habitats along the salinity gradient and to determine the co-occurrence of fungal parasites with their algal hosts, which were dominated by benthic diatoms. Our results reveal that Ascomycota and Chytridiomycota are the most abundant fungal taxa in these habitats. We show that also in Antarctic waters, salinity has a major impact on shaping not just fungal but rather the whole eukaryotic community composition, with a diversity of aquatic fungi increasing as salinity decreases. Moreover, we determined correlations between putative fungal parasites and potential benthic diatom hosts, highlighting the need for further systematic analysis of fungal diversity along with studies on taxonomy and ecological roles of Chytridiomycota.

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Last updated on 2022-06-05 at 09:19