Assessment of fungal diversity present in lakes of Maritime Antarctica using DNA metabarcoding: A temporal microcosm experiment
We evaluated the fungal diversity in two lakes on the South Shetland Islands, using DNA metabarcoding through high-throughput sequencing (HTS). A microcosm experiment was deployed for two consecutive years in lakes on Deception and King George islands to capture potential decomposer freshwater fungi. Analyses of the baits revealed 258,326 DNA reads distributed in 34 fungal taxa of the phyla Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Mortierellomycota, Chytridiomycota and Rozellomycota. Tetracladium marchalianum, Tetracladium sp., Rozellomycota sp., Fungal sp. 1 and Fungal sp. 2 were the most common taxa detected. However, the majority of the communities comprised intermediate and rare taxa. Both fungal communities displayed moderate indices of diversity, richness and dominance. Only six taxa were detected in both lakes, including the most dominant T. marchalianum and Tetracladium sp. The high numbers of reads of the known aquatic saprotrophic hyphomycetes T. marchalianum and Tetracladium sp. in the baits suggest that these fungi may digest organic material in Antarctic lakes, releasing available carbon and nutrients to the other aquatic organisms present in the complex lake food web. Our data confirm that the use of cotton baits together with HTS approaches can be appropriate to study the diversity of resident freshwater fungi present in Antarctic lakes.