Cryptic fungal diversity in deep-sea environments

Yuriko Nagano, Takahiko Nagahama

Author address: 

Institute of Biogeosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka, Kanagawa, JAPAN


As in other environments, microorganisms are known to play an important role in deep-sea ecosystems. Since the first foray into deep-sea research, with the development of advanced instrumentation for sampling and researching life at great depths, the presence and ecological importance of deep-sea bacteria and archaea has been extensively researched and documented. In contrast, fungi, one of the most extremotolerant and ecologically important groups of microorganisms, have been relatively underexplored in deep-sea environments. However, the presence of fungi in deep-sea environments, including deep marine subsurface and their ecological importance in ecosystems, is gaining attention. Many fungi have been isolated by culture-dependent methods from various deep-sea environments, with the majority of fungi showing similarity to terrestrial species. On the other hand, a significant amount of cryptic fungal diversity has been recently revealed by culture-independent emerging technologies. Recently revealed cryptic diversity in deep-sea environments includes novel fungal lineages, such as the new phylum Cryptomycota. Cryptomycota is suspected to lack typical fungal chitin-rich cell walls and is suggested as an ancient lineage within the kingdom of fungi. Zoosporic fungi, including Cryptomycota and other completely unknown lineages, have been extensively detected, especially from hydrothermal vents and methane cold-seeps. Further investigation on cryptic fungal diversity in deep-sea environments holds promise in providing key insights into the phylogenetic histories of fungi and their ecological role in environments.

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

Asian Mycological Congress 2013 and the 13th International Marine and Freshwater Mycology Symposium
    • AMC 2013