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Highlighting patterns of fungal diversity and composition shaped by ocean currents using the East China Sea as a model

Li, Wei, Wang, Mengmeng, Pan, Haoqin, Burgaud, Gaëtan, Liang, Shengkang, Guo, Jiajia, Luo, Tian, Li, Zhaoxia, Zhang, Shoumei, Cai, Lei
Molecular ecology 2018 v.27 no.2 pp. 564-576
Aspergillus, Byssochlamys, biogeography, community structure, dissolved oxygen, environmental factors, estuaries, freshwater, fungal communities, fungi, habitats, internal transcribed spacers, mixing, models, ribosomal DNA, rivers, runoff, seawater, sediments, surface water, water currents, East China Sea, Taiwan
How ocean currents shape fungal transport, dispersal and more broadly fungal biogeography remains poorly understood. The East China Sea (ECS) is a complex and dynamic habitat with different water masses blending microbial communities. The internal transcribed spacer 2 region of fungal rDNA was analysed in water and sediment samples directly collected from the coastal (CWM), Kuroshio (KSWM), Taiwan warm (TWM) and the shelf mixed water mass (MWM), coupled with hydrographic properties measurements, to determine how ocean currents impact the fungal community composition. Almost 9k fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) spanning six phyla, 25 known classes, 102 orders and 694 genera were obtained. The typical terrestrial and freshwater fungal genus, Byssochlamys, was dominant in the CWM, while increasing abundance of a specific OTU affiliated with Aspergillus was revealed from coastal to open ocean water masses (TWM and KSWM). Compared with water samples, sediment harboured an increased diversity with distinct fungal communities. The proximity of the Yangtze and Qiantang estuaries homogenizes the surface water and sediment communities. A significant influence of ocean currents on community structure was found, which is believed to reduce proportionally the variation explained by environmental parameters at the scale of the total water masses. Dissolved oxygen and depth were identified as the major parameters structuring the fungal community. Our results indicate that passive fungal dispersal driven by ocean currents and river run‐off, in conjunction with the distinct hydrographic conditions of individual water masses, shapes the fungal community composition and distribution pattern in the ECS.