Fungi are diverse organisms found in nearly every global environment as key component in nutrient cycling and decomposition. To date, most fungal diversity has been documented from terrestrial habitats leaving aquatic habitats comparatively unexplored. Even less is known about fungi inhabiting freshwater lakes, particularly from benthic zones, suggesting that lakes may serve as untapped resources for fungal biodiversity. The goal of this study was to inventory the benthic fungal communities of two North American Laurentian Great Lakes (Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior) and examine if these lakes harbor unique fungal taxa. Benthic sediment and water samples for this project were collected at various depths (50m-273m) during the summers of 2014, 2015 and 2016 using a Ponar dredge. This study employed both culture-dependent and culture-independent environmental sequencing techniques to obtain a more complete snapshot of the fungal community. Our research provides three major findings: the benthic zone of Great Lakes harbor a diverse group of fungi (~425 taxa), community analysis suggests fungal communities in the Great Lakes vary across depths, and utilizing both culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques in parallel provide a more complete inventory.
|Title of host publication
|85th Annual Meeting Mycological Society of America; 16-19 July 2017, Athens, Georgia
|Published - 2017