Aquatic fungi perform several important functions in natural ecosystems. Similar to terrestrial fungi, their predominant role is the decomposition of organic carbon. In freshwater streams, fungi are most efficient in transforming leaf-litter energy into biomass. Aquatic fungi are also capable of degrading manmade pollutants such as DDT, and sequestering metals such as cadmium. Despite being key players in organic matter decomposition and detoxification in many aquatic habitats, their taxonomic diversity and metabolic potential remain poorly known. By sequencing aquatic fungi from a range of ecosystems, researchers hope to learn more about fungal adaptations in aquatic environments along with their genomic and metabolic diversity in detail.
Proposer’s Name: Christian Wurzbacher, IGB (Germany)