Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 49–67 | Cite as

Fungal biodiversity in aquatic habitats

  • Carol A. Shearer
  • Enrique Descals
  • Brigitte Kohlmeyer
  • Jan Kohlmeyer
  • Ludmila Marvanová
  • David Padgett
  • David Porter
  • Huzefa A. Raja
  • John P. Schmit
  • Holly A. Thorton
  • Hermann Voglymayr
Original Paper


Fungal biodiversity in freshwater, brackish and marine habitats was estimated based on reports in the literature. The taxonomic groups treated were those with species commonly found on submerged substrates in aquatic habitats: Ascomycetes (exclusive of yeasts), Basidiomycetes, Chytridiomycetes, and the non-fungal Saprolegniales in the Class Oomycetes. Based on presence/absence data for a large number and variety of aquatic habitats, about 3,000 fungal species and 138 saprolegnialean species have been reported from aquatic habitats. The greatest number of taxa comprise the Ascomycetes, including mitosporic taxa, and Chytridiomycetes. Taxa of Basidiomycetes are, for the most part, excluded from aquatic habitats. The greatest biodiversity for all groups occurs in temperate areas, followed by Asian tropical areas. This pattern may be an artifact of the location of most of the sampling effort. The least sampled geographic areas include Africa, Australia, China, South America and boreal and tropical regions worldwide. Some species overlap occurs among terrestrial and freshwater taxa but little species overlap occurs among freshwater and marine taxa. We predict that many species remain to be discovered in aquatic habitats given the few taxonomic specialists studying these fungi, the few substrate types studied intensively, and the vast geographical area not yet sampled.


Aquatic habitats Marine fungi Freshwater fungi Biogeography 



The following individuals are acknowledged for their respective contributions to this paper: H. A. Thornton and D. Porter (Chytridiomycota, Chytridiomycetes); C.A. Shearer (Freshwater Meiotic Ascomycetes); E. Descals and L. Marvanová (Aquatic Hyphomycetes); H. Voglmayr (Freshwater Aeroaquatic Mitosporic Fungi); H. A. Raja (Miscellaneous Freshwater Mitosporic Ascomycetes); J.P. Schmit (Mangrove Fungi); J. Kohlmeyer and B. Volkman-Kohlmeyer (Marine Meiosporic and Mitosporic Ascomycetes); and D. Padgett (Oomycetes, Saprolegniales).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol A. Shearer
    • 1
  • Enrique Descals
    • 2
  • Brigitte Kohlmeyer
    • 3
  • Jan Kohlmeyer
    • 3
  • Ludmila Marvanová
    • 4
  • David Padgett
    • 5
  • David Porter
    • 6
  • Huzefa A. Raja
    • 1
  • John P. Schmit
    • 1
  • Holly A. Thorton
    • 6
  • Hermann Voglymayr
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.IMEDEA (CSIC-UI)EsporlesSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaMorehead CityUSA
  4. 4.Czech Collection of MicroorganismsBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Biology DepartmentUNC-WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  6. 6.Department of BotanyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  7. 7.Institute of BotanyUniversity of ViennaWienAustria

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