Fungal diversity and deterioration in mummified woods from the ad Astra Ice Cap region in the Canadian High Arctic

Joel A. Jurgens, Robert A Blanchette, Timothy R. Filley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Non-permineralized or mummified ancient wood found within proglacial soil near the ad Astra Ice Cap (81°N, 76°W), Ellesmere Island, Canada was investigated to ascertain the identification of the trees, current morphological and chemical characteristics of the woods and the fungi within them. These woods, identified as Betula, Larix, Picea and Pinus, were found with varying states of physical and chemical degradation. Modern microbial decomposition caused by soft rot fungi was evident and rDNA sequencing of fungi obtained from the samples revealed several species including Cadophora sp., Exophiala sp., Phialocephala sp., as well as others. Analytical 13C-labeled tetramethylammonium hydroxide thermochemolysis showed the lignin from the ancient wood was in a high degree of preservation with minor side chain alteration and little to no demethylation or ring hydroxylation. The exposure of these ancient woods to the young soils, where woody debris is not usually prevalent, provides carbon and nutrients into the polar environment that are captured and utilized by unique decay fungi at this Arctic site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-758
Number of pages8
JournalPolar Biology
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2009

Keywords

  • Biodeterioration
  • Ellesmere Island
  • Fungi
  • Lignin chemistry
  • Non-permineralized wood
  • Wood decay

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