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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Oct;75(20):6415-21. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00653-09. Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Fungal diversity in deep-sea hydrothermal ecosystems.

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  • 1UMR 6553 CNRS ECOBIO, FR/90 IFR 2116 CAREN, Université de Rennes 1, Campus de Beaulieu, Bat. 14a, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.

Abstract

Deep-sea hydrothermal ecosystems are considered oases of life in oceans. Since the discovery of these ecosystems in the late 1970s, many endemic species of Bacteria, Archaea, and other organisms, such as annelids and crabs, have been described. Considerable knowledge has been acquired about the diversity of (micro)organisms in these ecosystems, but the diversity of fungi has not been studied to date. These organisms are considered key organisms in terrestrial ecosystems because of their ecological functions and especially their ability to degrade organic matter. The lack of knowledge about them in the sea reflects the widely held belief that fungi are terrestrial organisms. The first inventory of such organisms in deep-sea hydrothermal environments was obtained in this study. Fungal diversity was investigated by analyzing the small-subunit rRNA gene sequences amplified by culture-independent PCR using DNA extracts from hydrothermal samples and from a culture collection that was established. Our work revealed an unsuspected diversity of species in three of the five fungal phyla. We found a new branch of Chytridiomycota forming an ancient evolutionary lineage. Many of the species identified are unknown, even at higher taxonomic levels in the Chytridiomycota, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota. This work opens the way to new studies of the diversity, ecology, and physiology of fungi in oceans and might stimulate new prospecting for biomolecules. From an evolutionary point of view, the diversification of fungi in the oceans can no longer be ignored.

PMID:
19633124
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2765129
Free PMC Article

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