Arctic driftwood reveals unexpectedly rich fungal diversity

Robert A. Blanchette, Benjamin W. Held, Lena Hellmann, Lawrence Millman, Ulf Büntgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Arctic driftwood can provide unique insight into the diversity of colonizing and decaying fungi at the interface of extremely cold terrestrial and marine environments. Entering the Arctic Ocean via large boreal river systems and being transported by currents and sea ice, driftwood is finally deposited along shallow coastlines. Here, we sequence 177 fungal cultures in driftwood from Iceland, Greenland and the Siberian Lena Delta. Although some fungi may survive during ice drift, most species are not shared among the different sampling sites. Many indigenous Arctic fungi are generalists in their ability to colonize and decompose organic substrata, with massive effects on carbon cycling. Cadophora species are the most frequent Ascomycota, and soft rot is the most prevalent form of decay. Few Basidiomycota were found, with many of them having poor sequence matches to known species. Future research is warranted with a focus on the biology, ecology and taxonomy of Arctic driftwood inhabiting fungi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalFungal Ecology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Sam Redford and Shawn Ng for assistance in the laboratory. This study is part of the ongoing ‘Arctic Driftwood’ project that receives support from the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation and the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL . U. Büntgen received funding from the Ministry of Education , Youth and Sports of CR within the National Sustainability Program No. CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0248 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and British Mycological Society


  • Ascomycota
  • Basidiomycota
  • Biodegradation
  • Community ecology
  • Greenland
  • ITS
  • Iceland
  • Russia
  • Soft rot
  • Taxonomy
  • Wood decay


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