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Growth Forms and Functional Guilds Distribution of Soil Fungi in Coastal Versus Inland Sites of Victoria Land, Antarctica

Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences, University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Biodiversity Dynamics Research Group, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
MTA-EKE Lendület Environmental Microbiome Research Group, Eszterházy Károly University, H-3300 Eger, Hungary
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, 06121 Perugia, Italy
Research Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, National Research Council of Italy (IRET-CNR), 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Zed Rengel
Biology 2021, 10(4), 320;
Received: 25 March 2021 / Revised: 2 April 2021 / Accepted: 9 April 2021 / Published: 11 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Soil Fungal Communities)
Antarctica represents one of the most limiting environments on Earth, where exposed soils, transiently present on coastal areas and permanently exposed on McMurdo Dry Valleys, are one of the few substrata supporting microbial communities. Within these communities, fungi are one of the dominant components and play pivotal roles in recycling the extremely limited organic matter available. Despite their astonishing adaptations, the diversity of these communities and the factors determining their resistance are still poorly known. In this optic, this study aimed to give insights in the environmental parameters determining the structure of these communities and their adaptive strategies, in terms of growth forms and lifestyles. We found that abiotic conditions were the main drivers of well differentiated communities. Additionally, we highlighted that most species seemed to be highly adapted to this habitat, which may result in a relatively low resilience ability to changes in environmental condition. Both these results are of particular concern in light of global warming. Even minimal changes to environmental conditions may dramatically alter the Antarctic soil communities, risking the disappearance of many species still undescribed.
In Victoria Land, Antarctica, ice-free areas are restricted to coastal regions and dominate the landscape of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. These two environments are subjected to different pressures that determine the establishment of highly adapted fungal communities. Within the kingdom of fungi, filamentous, yeasts and meristematic/microcolonial growth forms on one side and different lifestyles on the other side may be considered adaptive strategies of particular interest in the frame of Antarctic constraints. In this optic, soil fungal communities from both coastal and Dry Valleys sites, already characterized thorough ITS1 metabarcoding sequencing, have been compared to determine the different distribution of phyla, growth forms, and lifestyles. Though we did not find significant differences in the richness between the two environments, the communities were highly differentiated and Dry Valleys sites had a higher evenness compared to coastal ones. Additionally, the distribution of different growth forms and lifestyles were well differentiated, and their diversity and composition were likely influenced by soil abiotic parameters, among which soil granulometry, pH, P, and C contents were the potential main determinants. View Full-Text
Keywords: growth forms; lifestyles; evenness growth forms; lifestyles; evenness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Canini, F.; Geml, J.; Buzzini, P.; Turchetti, B.; Onofri, S.; D’Acqui, L.P.; Ripa, C.; Zucconi, L. Growth Forms and Functional Guilds Distribution of Soil Fungi in Coastal Versus Inland Sites of Victoria Land, Antarctica. Biology 2021, 10, 320.

AMA Style

Canini F, Geml J, Buzzini P, Turchetti B, Onofri S, D’Acqui LP, Ripa C, Zucconi L. Growth Forms and Functional Guilds Distribution of Soil Fungi in Coastal Versus Inland Sites of Victoria Land, Antarctica. Biology. 2021; 10(4):320.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Canini, Fabiana, József Geml, Pietro Buzzini, Benedetta Turchetti, Silvano Onofri, Luigi Paolo D’Acqui, Caterina Ripa, and Laura Zucconi. 2021. "Growth Forms and Functional Guilds Distribution of Soil Fungi in Coastal Versus Inland Sites of Victoria Land, Antarctica" Biology 10, no. 4: 320.

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