Deep-sea fungi: Occurrence and adaptations
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Fungi in the marine environment have only been fully recognized since about 1960, and within the group, marine fungi have shown highest decadal indices (% increases in species number over a 10 year period) with respect of description of new species. In spite of this, fungi have remained largely neglected in the vast environment of deep sea, with some sporadic reports appearing once in a while. With this study, it is tried to reduce this void by describing the occurrence and diversity of fungi from the Central Indian Basin. For this, fungi were isolated from the sediments from the Central Indian Basin from an average depth of ~ 5000 m by different techniques viz. dilution plating, particle plating and pressure enrichment technique on board the vessel AA Sidorenko. The particle plating method yielded the lowest number of fungi while dilution plating and pressure enrichment resulted in almost similar recovery of fungi from the sediments. The highest number of species was often obtained at 0-2 cm depth of deepsea sediment cores, while the numbers were much less below 25 cm depth (Table 2). Aspergillus species were the dominant fungi isolated, followed by non-sporulating and unidentified sporulating fungi. However, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) comparing the number of species isolated from different subsections of each core down to 30 cm depth showed that differences between the subsections were not significant. None of the media used for isolation were selective for isolating specific type of fungi.
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