DNA metabarcoding to assess the diversity of airborne fungi present over Keller Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica
We assessed fungal diversity present in air samples obtained from King George Island, Antarctica, using DNA metabarcoding through high-throughput sequencing. We detected 186 fungal amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) dominated by the phyla Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Mortierellomycota, Mucoromycota, and Chytridiomycota. Fungi sp. 1, Agaricomycetes sp. 1, Mortierella parvispora, Mortierella sp. 2, Penicillium sp., Pseudogymnoascus roseus, Microdochium lycopodinum, Mortierella gamsii, Arrhenia sp., Cladosporium sp., Mortierella fimbricystis, Moniliella pollinis, Omphalina sp., Mortierella antarctica, and Pseudogymnoascus appendiculatus were the most dominant ASVs. In addition, several ASVs could only be identified at higher taxonomic levels and may represent previously unknown fungi and/or new records for Antarctica. The fungi detected in the air displayed high indices of diversity, richness, and dominance. The airborne fungal diversity included saprophytic, mutualistic, and plant and animal opportunistic pathogenic taxa. The diversity of taxa detected reinforces the hypothesis that the Antarctic airspora includes fungal propagules of both intra- and inter-continental origin. If regional Antarctic environmental conditions ameliorate further in concert with climate warming, these fungi might be able to reactivate and colonize different Antarctic ecosystems, with as yet unknown consequences for ecosystem function in Antarctica. Further aeromycological studies are necessary to understand how and from where these fungi arrive and move within Antarctica and if environmental changes will encourage the development of non-native fungal species in Antarctica.
Authors: Rosa, Luiz Henrique, Pinto, Otávio Henrique Bezerra, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey, Carvalho-Silva, Micheline, Rosa, Carlos Augusto, Câmara, Paulo Eduardo Aguiar Saraiva