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Open Access The culturable mycobiota associated with three Atlantic sponges, including two new species: Thelebolus balaustiformis and T. spongiae

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Covering 70 % of Earth, oceans are at the same time the most common and the environment least studied by microbiologists. Considering the large gaps in our knowledge on the presence of marine fungi in the oceans, the aim of this research was to isolate and identify the culturable fungal community within three species of sponges, namely Dysidea fragilis, Pachymatisma johnstonia and Sycon ciliatum, collected in the Atlantic Ocean and never studied for their associated mycobiota. Applying different isolation methods, incubation temperatures and media, and attempting to mimic the marine and sponge environments, were fundamental to increase the number of cultivable taxa. Fungi were identified using a polyphasic approach, by means of morpho-physiological, molecular and phylogenetic techniques. The sponges revealed an astonishing fungal diversity represented by 87 fungal taxa. Each sponge hosted a specific fungal community with more than half of the associated fungi being exclusive of each invertebrate. Several species isolated and identified in this work, already known in terrestrial environment, were first reported in marine ecosystems (21 species) and in association with sponges (49 species), including the two new species Thelebolus balaustiformis and Thelebolus spongiae, demonstrating that oceans are an untapped source of biodiversity.
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Keywords: ATLANTIC OCEAN; MARINE FUNGI; SPONGES; SYSTEMATICS; TWO NEW TAXA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2018

This article was made available online on April 18, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "New and Interesting Fungi. 1".

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  • Fungal Systematics and Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, full colour, fast-track journal. Papers will include reviews, research articles, methodology papers, taxonomic monographs, and the description of fungi. The journal strongly supports good practice policies, and requires voucher specimens to be deposited in a fungarium, cultures in long-term genetic resource collection, sequences in GenBank, alignments in TreeBASE, and taxonomic novelties in MycoBank.
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