Fungi, bacteria and oomycota opportunistically isolated from the seagrass, Zostera marina.
ABSTRACT: Fungi in the marine environment are often neglected as a research topic, despite that fungi having critical roles on land as decomposers, pathogens or endophytes. Here we used culture-dependent methods to survey the fungi associated with the seagrass, Zostera marina, also obtaining bacteria and oomycete isolates in the process. A total of 108 fungi, 40 bacteria and 2 oomycetes were isolated. These isolates were then taxonomically identified using a combination of molecular and phylogenetic methods. The majority of the fungal isolates were classified as belonging to the classes Eurotiomycetes, Dothideomycetes, and Sordariomycetes. Most fungal isolates were habitat generalists like Penicillium sp. and Cladosporium sp., but we also cultured a diverse set of rare taxa including possible habitat specialists like Colletotrichum sp. which may preferentially associate with Z. marina leaf tissue. Although the bulk of bacterial isolates were identified as being from known ubiquitous marine lineages, we also obtained several Actinomycetes isolates and a Phyllobacterium sp. We identified two oomycetes, another understudied group of marine microbial eukaryotes, as Halophytophthora sp. which may be opportunistic pathogens or saprophytes of Z. marina. Overall, this study generates a culture collection of fungi which adds to knowledge of Z. marina associated fungi and highlights a need for more investigation into the functional and evolutionary roles of microbial eukaryotes associated with seagrasses.
Project description:Phytophthora species are potent pathogens that can devastate terrestrial plants, causing billions of dollars of damage yearly to agricultural crops and harming fragile ecosystems worldwide. Yet, virtually nothing is known about the distribution and pathogenicity of their marine relatives. This is surprising, as marine plants form vital habitats in coastal zones worldwide (i.e. mangrove forests, salt marshes, seagrass beds), and disease may be an important bottleneck for the conservation and restoration of these rapidly declining ecosystems. We are the first to report on widespread infection of Phytophthora and Halophytophthora species on a common seagrass species, Zostera marina (eelgrass), across the northern Atlantic and Mediterranean. In addition, we tested the effects of Halophytophthora sp. Zostera and Phytophthora gemini on Z. marina seed germination in a full-factorial laboratory experiment under various environmental conditions. Results suggest that Phytophthora species are widespread as we found these oomycetes in eelgrass beds in six countries across the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Infection by Halophytophthora sp. Zostera, P. gemini, or both, strongly affected sexual reproduction by reducing seed germination sixfold. Our findings have important implications for seagrass ecology, because these putative pathogens probably negatively affect ecosystem functioning, as well as current restoration and conservation efforts.
Project description:We investigated the incidence of RNA viruses in a collection of Halophytophthora spp. from estuarine ecosystems in southern Portugal. The first approach to detect the presence of viruses was based on the occurrence of dsRNA, typically considered as a viral molecule in plants and fungi. Two dsRNA-banding patterns (?7 and 9 kb) were observed in seven of 73 Halophytophthora isolates tested (9.6%). Consequently, two dsRNA-hosting isolates were chosen to perform stranded RNA sequencing for de novo virus sequence assembly. A total of eight putative novel virus species with genomic affinities to members of the order Bunyavirales were detected and their full-length RdRp gene characterized by RACE. Based on the direct partial amplification of their RdRp gene by RT-PCR multiple viral infections occur in both isolates selected. Likewise, the screening of those viruses in the whole collection of Halophytophthora isolates showed that their occurrence is limited to one single Halophytophthora species. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the presence of negative (-) ssRNA viruses in marine oomycetes.
Project description:Several filamentous oomycete species of the genus Halophytophthora have recently been described from marine environments, mostly from subtropical and tropical ecosystems. During a survey of oomycetes from leaf litter of Spartina alterniflora in salt marshes of southeastern Georgia, isolates of four taxa were recovered that bore similarity to some members of Halophytophthora but were highly divergent from isolates of Halophytophthora s.str. based on a combined sequence analysis of two nuclear loci. In phylogenetic analyses, these isolates were placed basal to a monophyletic group comprised of Pythium of the Pythiaceae and the Peronosporaceae. Sequence and morphology of these taxa diverged from the type species Halophytophthora vesicula, which was placed within the Peronosporaceae with maximum support. As a consequence a new family, the Salisapiliaceae, and a new genus, Salisapilia, are described to accommodate the newly discovered species, along with one species previously classified within Halophytophthora. Morphological features that separate these taxa from Halophytophthora are a smaller hyphal diameter, oospore production, lack of vesicle formation during sporulation, and a plug of hyaline material at the sporangial apex that is displaced during zoospore release. Our findings offer a first glance at the presumably much higher diversity of oomycetes in estuarine environments, of which ecological significance requires further exploration.
Project description:Marine fungi remain poorly covered in global genome sequencing campaigns; the 1000 fungal genomes (1KFG) project attempts to shed light on the diversity, ecology and potential industrial use of overlooked and poorly resolved fungal taxa. This study characterizes the genomes of three marine fungi: Emericellopsis sp. TS7, wood-associated Amylocarpus encephaloides and algae-associated Calycina marina. These species were genome sequenced to study their genomic features, biosynthetic potential and phylogenetic placement using multilocus data. Amylocarpus encephaloides and C. marina were placed in the Helotiaceae and Pezizellaceae (Helotiales), respectively, based on a 15-gene phylogenetic analysis. These two genomes had fewer biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) and carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes) than Emericellopsis sp. TS7 isolate. Emericellopsis sp. TS7 (Hypocreales, Ascomycota) was isolated from the sponge Stelletta normani. A six-gene phylogenetic analysis placed the isolate in the marine Emericellopsis clade and morphological examination confirmed that the isolate represents a new species, which is described here as E. atlantica. Analysis of its CAZyme repertoire and a culturing experiment on three marine and one terrestrial substrates indicated that E. atlantica is a psychrotrophic generalist fungus that is able to degrade several types of marine biomass. FungiSMASH analysis revealed the presence of 35 BGCs including, eight non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs), six NRPS-like, six polyketide synthases, nine terpenes and six hybrid, mixed or other clusters. Of these BGCs, only five were homologous with characterized BGCs. The presence of unknown BGCs sets and large CAZyme repertoire set stage for further investigations of E. atlantica. The Pezizellaceae genome and the genome of the monotypic Amylocarpus genus represent the first published genomes of filamentous fungi that are restricted in their occurrence to the marine habitat and form thus a valuable resource for the community that can be used in studying ecological adaptions of fungi using comparative genomics.
Project description:Fungi play a major role in various biogeochemical cycles of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. However, fungi in marine environments remain to be one of the most under-studied microbial groups. This study investigates the diversity of planktonic fungi from the coastal habitat off Pearl River Delta (China) using culture-dependent approach. A total of 22 fungi and 9 yeast isolates were recovered from 30 seawater and 2 sediment samples. Microscopic and ITS rRNA gene sequence analyses revealed that most of the fungi belonged to the phylum Ascomycota and Basidiomycota with a very small percentage (3%) of the subphylum Mucoromycotina of the Phylum Zygomycota. Most of these fungal isolates exhibited considerable production of extracellular enzymes, cellulase, lipase and laccase. Fungal isolates of two genera Mucor and Aspergillus sp. demonstrated pelletization capability over a wide range of pH, suggesting them as potential agents towards algae harvesting and wastewater treatment.
Project description:Zostera marina (eelgrass) is a marine foundation species with key ecological roles in coastal habitats. Its bacterial microbiota has been well studied, but very little is known about its mycobiome. In this study, we have isolated and identified 13 fungal strains, dominated by Penicillium species (10 strains), from the leaf and the root rhizosphere of Baltic Z. marina. The organic extracts of the fungi that were cultured by an OSMAC (One-Strain-Many-Compounds) regime using five liquid culture media under both static and shaking conditions were investigated for their chemical and bioactivity profiles. All extracts showed strong anti-quorum sensing activity, and the majority of the Penicillium extracts displayed antimicrobial or anti-biofilm activity against Gram-negative environmental marine and human pathogens. HPLC-DAD-MS-based rapid metabolome analyses of the extracts indicated the high influence of culture conditions on the secondary metabolite (SM) profiles. Among 69 compounds detected in all Penicillium sp. extracts, 46 were successfully dereplicated. Analysis of SM relatedness in culture conditions by Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) revealed generally low similarity and showed a strong effect of medium selection on chemical profiles of Penicillium sp. This is the first study assessing both the metabolite and bioactivity profile of the fungi associated with Baltic eelgrass Z. marina.
Project description:Of the diverse lineages of the Phylum Oomycota, saprotrophic oomycetes from the salt marsh and mangrove habitats are still understudied, despite their ecological importance. Salisapiliaceae, a monophyletic and monogeneric taxon of the marine and estuarine oomycetes, was introduced to accommodate species with a protruding hyaline apical plug, small hyphal diameter and lack of vesicle formation during zoospore release. At the time of description of Salisapilia, only few species of Halophytophthora, an ecologically similar, phylogenetically heterogeneous genus from which Salisapilia was segregated, were included. In this study, a revision of the genus Salisapilia is presented, and five new combinations (S. bahamensis, S. elongata, S. epistomia, S. masteri, and S. mycoparasitica) and one new species (S. coffeyi) are proposed. Further, the species description of S. nakagirii is emended for some exceptional morphological and developmental characteristics. A key to the genus Salisapilia is provided and its generic circumscription and character evolution in cultivable Peronosporales are discussed.
Project description:Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that provide critical ecosystem services in coastal environments worldwide. Marine fungi are often overlooked in microbiome and seagrass studies, despite terrestrial fungi having critical functional roles as decomposers, pathogens, or endophytes in global ecosystems. Here, we characterize the distribution of fungi associated with the seagrass <i>Zostera marina,</i> using leaves, roots, and rhizosphere sediment from 16 locations across its full biogeographic range. Using high-throughput sequencing of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region and 18S rRNA gene, we first measured fungal community composition and diversity. We then tested hypotheses of neutral community assembly theory and the degree to which deviations suggested that amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were plant selected or dispersal limited. Finally, we identified a core mycobiome and investigated the global distribution of differentially abundant ASVs. We found that the fungal community is significantly different between sites and that the leaf mycobiome follows a weak but significant pattern of distance decay in the Pacific Ocean. Generally, there was evidence for both deterministic and stochastic factors contributing to community assembly of the mycobiome, with most taxa assembling through stochastic processes. The <i>Z. marina</i> core leaf and root mycobiomes were dominated by unclassified Sordariomycetes spp., unclassified Chytridiomycota lineages (including Lobulomycetaceae spp.), unclassified Capnodiales spp., and <i>Saccharomyces</i> sp. It is clear from the many unclassified fungal ASVs and fungal functional guilds that knowledge of marine fungi is still rudimentary. Further studies characterizing seagrass-associated fungi are needed to understand the roles of these microorganisms generally and when associated with seagrasses. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Fungi have important functional roles when associated with land plants, yet very little is known about the roles of fungi associated with marine plants, like seagrasses. In this study, we report the results of a global effort to characterize the fungi associated with the seagrass <i>Zostera marina</i> across its full biogeographic range. Although we defined a putative global core fungal community, it is apparent from the many fungal sequences and predicted functional guilds that had no matches to existing databases that general knowledge of seagrass-associated fungi and marine fungi is lacking. This work serves as an important foundational step toward future work investigating the functional ramifications of fungi in the marine ecosystem.
Project description:Purpose of the study: Marine fungi of Mauritius have been poorly studied. There are numerous reports on the bioactive secondary metabolites that are produced by fungi around the world. Yet, research on the molecular characterisation and the pharmaceutical potential of marine fungi in Mauritius is rather scanty. Method: The samples, which consisted of three sponges Haliclona sp., Iotrochota sp. and Biemna sp. and two brown algae Turbinaria conoides and Sargassum portierianum, were collected in the North of Mauritius during winter. No sporulating structures were observed from the fungal cultures making morphological analysis impossible. The molecular characterisation of the selected isolates was carried out by the amplification of the ITS regions and phylogenetic analysis. The antimicrobial properties were then determined using the disc diffusion and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay. Results: Genus level identification was made from molecular data and for some isolates, species-level identification was even possible. Twelve fungi that showed the best antimicrobial properties were identified as Peniophora sp., Aspergillus cristatus, Acremonium sp., Cordyceps memorabilis, Aspergillus ochraceus, Biscogniauxia sp., Aspergillus keratitidis, Exserohilum rostratum, Chromocleista sp., Nigrospora oryzae, Aspergillus flavipes and Mycosphaerella. The lowest MIC result of 0.0098 mg/mL was obtained with Chromocleista sp. mycelium extract against Staphylococcus aureus. The MIC of the mycelium extracts was lower than the broth extracts for most isolates indicating that the antimicrobial compounds are not secreted. Conclusion: Marine fungi from the Mauritian waters have immense potential in the search for natural products against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Project description:Seagrasses are globally distributed marine flowering plants that are foundation species in coastal ecosystems. Seagrass beds play essential roles as habitats and hatcheries, in nutrient cycling, and in protecting the coastline from erosion. Although many studies have focused on seagrass ecology, only a limited number have investigated their associated fungi. In terrestrial systems, fungi can have beneficial and detrimental effects on plant fitness. However, not much is known about marine fungi and even less is known about seagrass associated fungi. Here we used culture-independent sequencing of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region to characterize the taxonomic diversity of fungi associated with the seagrass, Zostera marina. We sampled from two Z. marina beds in Bodega Bay over three time points to investigate fungal diversity within and between plants. Our results indicate that there are many fungal taxa for which a taxonomic assignment cannot be made living on and inside Z. marina leaves, roots and rhizomes and that these plant tissues harbor distinct fungal communities. We also identified differences in the abundances of the orders, Glomerellales, Agaricales and Malasseziales, between seagrass tissues. The most prevalent ITS amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) associated with Z. marina tissues could not initially be confidently assigned to a fungal phylum, but shared significant sequence similarity with Chytridiomycota and Aphelidomycota. To obtain a more definitive taxonomic classification of the most abundant ASV associated with Z. marina leaves, we used PCR with one primer targeting a unique region of this ASV's ITS2 and a second primer targeting fungal 28S rRNA genes to amplify part of the 28S rRNA gene region corresponding to this ASV. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the resulting partial 28S rRNA gene revealed that the organism that this ASV comes from is a member of Novel Clade SW-I in the order Lobulomycetales in the phylum Chytridiomycota. This clade includes known parasites of freshwater diatoms and algae and it is possible this chytrid is directly infecting Z. marina leaf tissues. This work highlights a need for further studies focusing on marine fungi and the potential importance of these understudied communities to the larger seagrass ecosystem.