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Science. 2003 Sep 5;301(5638):1359-61.

Seasonal dynamics of previously unknown fungal lineages in tundra soils.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0334, USA.


The finding that microbial communities are active under snow has changed the estimated global rates of biogeochemical processes beneath seasonal snow packs. We used microbiological and molecular techniques to elucidate the phylogenetic composition of undersnow microbial communities in Colorado, the United States. Here, we show that tundra soil microbial biomass reaches its annual peak under snow, and that fungi account for most of the biomass. Phylogenetic analysis of tundra soil fungi revealed a high diversity of fungi and three novel clades that constitute major new groups of fungi (divergent at the subphylum or class level). An abundance of previously unknown fungi that are active beneath the snow substantially broadens our understanding of both the diversity and biogeochemical functioning of fungi in cold environments.

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