Investigations of fungal diversity in wooden structures and soils at historic sites on the Antarctic Peninsula

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Investigations of microbial diversity in Antarctic are important to begin to understand ecosystem functioning and decomposition processes. This study documents fungi at 9 historic sites on the Antarctic Peninsula collected from wooden structures, other organic materials, and soils during a joint National Science Foundation and British Antarctic Survey expedition in 2007. Many of these sites had wooden structures built by the British during the World War II Operation Tabarin, but others visited included the American ''East Base'' on Stonington Island and the Swedish hut on Snow Hill Island. Fungi were cultured on several different media and pure cultures were obtained and identified by DNA sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region. Cadophora species previously found to attack historic wooden structures on Ross Island, Antarctica, were found at all but 1 location sampled in the Peninsula region. Fungi causing decay in the historic wooden structures and artifacts and those causing mold problems inside the structures are of great concern, and conservation efforts are urgently needed to help preserve these important polar heritage structures. The results presented also expand our knowledge on the identity of fungi present throughout the Antarctic Peninsula region and provide insights into the organisms responsible for decomposition and nutrient recycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Antarctica
  • Biodeterioration, historic conservation
  • Fungi
  • Wood decay


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