Diversity of fungi present in permafrost in the South Shetland Islands, maritime Antarctic
We assess the fungal diversity present in permafrost from different islands in the South Shetland Islands archipelago, maritime Antarctic, using next-generation sequencing (NGS). We detected 1,003,637 fungal DNA reads representing, in rank abundance order, the phyla Ascomycota, Mortierellomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, Rozellomycota, Mucoromycota, Calcarisporiellomycota and Zoopagomycota. Ten taxa were dominant these being, in order of abundance, Pseudogymnoascus appendiculatus, Penicillium sp., Pseudogymnoascus roseus, Penicillium herquei, Curvularia lunata, Leotiomycetes sp., Mortierella sp. 1, Mortierella fimbricystis, Fungal sp. 1 and Fungal sp. 2. A further 38 taxa had intermediate abundance and 345 were classified as rare. The total fungal community detected in the permafrost showed high indices of diversity, richness and dominance, although these varied between the sampling locations. The use of a metabarcoding approach revealed the presence of DNA of a complex fungal assemblage in the permafrost of the South Shetland Islands including taxa with a range of ecological functions among which were multiple animal, human and plant pathogenic fungi. Further studies are required to determine whether the taxa identified are present in the form of viable cells or propagules and which might be released from melting permafrost to other Antarctic habitats and potentially dispersed more widely.
Authors: da Silva, Thamar Holanda, Câmara, Paulo E.A.S., Pinto, Otávio Henrique Bezerra, Carvalho-Silva, Micheline, Oliveira, Fábio Soares, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Rosa, Carlos Augusto, Rosa, Luiz Henrique