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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26445. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026445. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Molecular diversity of fungal phylotypes co-amplified alongside nematodes from coastal and deep-sea marine environments.

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  • 1Integrative Taxonomy and Microbial Ecology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


Nematodes and fungi are both ubiquitous in marine environments, yet few studies have investigated relationships between these two groups. Microbial species share many well-documented interactions with both free-living and parasitic nematode species, and limited data from previous studies have suggested ecological associations between fungi and nematodes in benthic marine habitats. This study aimed to further document the taxonomy and distribution of fungal taxa often co-amplified from nematode specimens. A total of 15 fungal 18S rRNA phylotypes were isolated from nematode specimens representing both deep-sea and shallow water habitats; all fungal isolates displayed high pairwise sequence identities with published data in Genbank (99-100%) and unpublished high-throughput 454 environmental datasets (>95%). BLAST matches indicate marine fungal sequences amplified in this study broadly represent taxa within the phyla Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, and several phylotypes showed robust groupings with known taxa in phylogenetic topologies. In addition, some fungal phylotypes appeared to be present in disparate geographic habitats, suggesting cosmopolitan distributions or closely related species complexes in at least some marine fungi. The present study was only able to isolate fungal DNA from a restricted set of nematode taxa; further work is needed to fully investigate the taxonomic scope and function of nematode-fungal interactions.

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