Fungi have contributed to Antarctic ecosystems for >200 million years as, from the fossil record, it has been shown that fungi were present in Antarctica since at least the Triassic Period. Fungi have been reported from a wide variety of soils and substrates in far-ranging geographical locations and diverse habitats in Antarctica; the first reports being from as early as the beginning of the twentieth century. In Antarctic studies, non-lichenized fungi have generally been considered separately from lichenized forms and the list of non-lichenized fungi reported from Antarctic regions (including the sub-Antarctic) is extensive at +1,000 species. Fungi are notorious contaminants especially around sites of human activity, and it is crucial to acknowledge the difficulty of discerning transient/introduced versus indigenous and endemic fungi, and to understand their respective contributions to terrestrial biodiversity. To identify fungi, rigorous decontamination procedures on substrates are used along with conventional culturing methodologies and molecular technologies. This chapter focuses mainly on studies concerning terrestrial non-lichenized fungi published since 1993 and highlights specific taxonomic groups that are most important to Antarctic soil ecosystems.
|Title of host publication
|Antarctic Terrestrial Microbiology
|Subtitle of host publication
|Physical and Biological Properties of Antarctic Soils
|Number of pages
|Published - Dec 1 2013