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Ecological succession of fungal and bacterial communities in Antarctic mosses affected by a fairy ring disease

Abstract

We evaluated fungal and bacterial diversity in an established moss carpet on King George Island, Antarctica, affected by ‘fairy ring’ disease using metabarcoding. A total of 127 fungal and 706 bacterial taxa were assigned. Ascomycota dominated the fungal assemblages, followed by Basidiomycota, Rozellomycota, Chytridiomycota, Mortierellomycota and Monoblepharomycota. The fungal community displayed high indices of diversity, richness and dominance, which increased from healthy through infected to dead moss samples. A range of fungal taxa were more abundant in dead rather than healthy or fairy ring moss samples. Bacterial diversity and richness were greatest in healthy moss and least within the infected fairy ring. The dominant prokaryotic phyla were Actinobacteriota, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidota and Cyanobacteria. Cyanophyceae sp., whilst consistently dominant, were less abundant in fairy ring samples. Our data confirmed the presence and abundance of a range of plant pathogenic fungi, supporting the hypothesis that the disease is linked with multiple fungal taxa. Further studies are required to characterise the interactions between plant pathogenic fungi and their host Antarctic mosses. Monitoring the dynamics of mutualist, phytopathogenic and decomposer microorganisms associated with moss carpets may provide bioindicators of moss health.

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Data availability statement

All raw sequences have been deposited in the NCBI database under the codes SAMN17612011, SAMN17612012, SAMN17612013, SAMN17612014, SAMN17612015, SAMN17612016 and SAMN17612017.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge financial support from PROANTAR CNPq (442258/2018-6), INCT Criosfera, FAPEMIG, CAPES and FNDCT. P. Convey is supported by NERC core funding to the British Antarctic Survey’s ‘Biodiversity, Evolution and Adaptation’ Team. We also thank congresswoman Jô Moraes and the Biological Sciences Institute of the University of Brasilia

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Rosa, L.H., da Costa Coelho, L., Pinto, O.H.B. et al. Ecological succession of fungal and bacterial communities in Antarctic mosses affected by a fairy ring disease. Extremophiles (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00792-021-01240-1

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Keywords

  • Antarctica
  • Climate change
  • Environmental DNA
  • Metabarcoding
  • Plant diseases