How do fungi survive in the sea and respond to climate change?

With the over 2000 marine fungi and fungal-like organisms documented so far, some have adapted fully to life in the sea, while some have the ability to tolerate environmental conditions in the marine milieu. These organisms have evolved various mechanisms for growth in the marine environment, especially against salinity gradients. This review highlights the response of marine fungi, fungal-like organisms and terrestrial fungi (for comparison) towards salinity variations in terms of their growth, spore germination, sporulation, physiology, and genetic adaptability. Marine, freshwater and terrestrial fungi and fungal-like organisms vary greatly in their response to salinity. Generally, terrestrial and freshwater fungi grow, germinate and sporulate better at lower salinities, while marine fungi do so over a wide range of salinities. Zoosporic fungal-like organisms are more sensitive to salinity than true fungi, especially Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Labyrinthulomycota and marine Oomycota are more salinity tolerant than saprolegniaceous organisms in terms of growth and reproduction. Wide adaptability to saline conditions in marine or marine-related habitats requires mechanisms for maintaining accumulation of ions in the vacuoles, the exclusion of high levels of sodium chloride, the maintenance of turgor in the mycelium, optimal growth at alkaline pH, a broad temperature growth range from polar to tropical waters, and growth at depths and often under anoxic conditions, and these properties may allow marine fungi to positively respond to the challenges that climate change will bring. Other related topics will also be discussed in this article, such as the effect of salinity on secondary metabolite production by marine fungi, their evolution in the sea, and marine endophytes.

Jones E. B. G, Ramakrishna S., Vikineswary S., Das D., Bahkali A. H., Guo S.-Y. & Pang K.-L., 2022. How do fungi survive in the sea and respond to climate change? Journal of Fungi 8(3): 291. doi: 10.3390/jof8030291. Article.

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: