Wainwright et al. 2017

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Fungi associated with mesophotic macroalgae from the ‘Au‘au Channel, west Maui are differentiated by host and overlap terrestrial communities

Wainwright BJ, Zahn GL, Spalding HL, Sherwood AR, Smith CM, Amend AS

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Mesophotic coral ecosystems are an almost entirely unexplored and undocumented environment that likely contains vast reservoirs of undescribed biodiversity. Twenty-four macroalgae samples, representing four genera, were collected from a Hawaiian mesophotic reef at water depths between 65 and 86 m in the ‘Au‘au Channel, Maui, Hawai‘i. Algal tissues were surveyed for the presence and diversity of fungi by sequencing the ITS1 gene using Illumina technology. Fungi from these algae were then compared to previous fungal surveys conducted in Hawaiian terrestrial ecosystems. Twenty-seven percent of the OTUs present on the mesophotic coral ecosystem samples were shared between the marine and terrestrial environment. Subsequent analyses indicated that host species of algae significantly differentiate fungal community composition. This work demonstrates yet another understudied habitat with a moderate diversity of fungi that should be considered when estimating global fungal diversity.

10.7717 peerj.3532
Depth range
65- 86 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
51 x (total of 4047 words)

Biodiversity Molecular ecology Taxonomy

Research focus
Algae (Macro, Turf and Crustose Coralline) Other endosymbionts (non-Symbiodinium)

USA - Hawaii

Research platforms
Manned Submersible
Author profiles
Heather Spalding ( 11 pubs)
Tyler Smith ( 20 pubs)