Continental Antarctica is considered an extreme terrestrial environment, which
can be colonized only by microorganisms with high level of adaptation.
Microbiological investigations in the southern cold temperate to Polar Regions
have been concentrated largely on the sub-Antarctic islands, the Antarctic
Peninsula and the McMurdo Dry Valleys region of Southern Victoria Land. The
studies suggest a ... low diversity of indigenous fungi in continental Antarctica
with around 150 taxa recognized in the literature.
The purpose of this research is to study the diversity of Antarctic fungi. This
data represent diversity of Antarctic fungi isolated from samples of soil from
Windmill Islands, Antarctica such as Thalla Valley, SSSI17, Wilkes Station,
Whitney Point, Casey Station and Peterson Island. All material was collected at
various locations in December 2001, February 2002 and 2004. A total of 10 fungi
species were isolated which 5 represent Hyphomycetes, two Ascomycetes, one
Coelomycete, one Zygomycete and one yeast. The main species isolated were
Cadophora malorum, Geomyces cretaceous and Thelebolus sp. A variety of fungi
and yeast were encountered in soil samples in different localities:
Aureobasidium sp., Antarctomyces sp., Mucor sp., Mrakia frigida,
Trichosporiella cerebriformis, and Phoma sp. Ten fungal taxa were identified.
Nine different genera were recorded. The majority were Hyphomycetes, but
Ascomycetes, Coelomycetes and Zygomycetes were also isolated. Hyphomycetes
appear to dominate the fungal flora of Windmill Islands.
Higher numbers and types of fungi were isolated from soil around Thala Valley,
where 8 taxa were detected. The most commonly encountered taxa including
Aureobasidium sp., Cadophora malorum and Geomyces cretaceus. Isolates obtained
here included of taxa not isolated from other sites. Trichosporiella
cerebriformis, Mucor sp. and unidentified sp. 9 were isolated only from Thala
Valley. The isolation of Trichosporiella cerebriformis from Thala Valley
represents a first record from continental Antarctica. Other taxa recovered
included Antarctomyces sp. and Mrakia frigida.
Microfungi isolated mainly from mineral soils from Whitney Point included
Aureobasidium sp., Cadophora malorum, Geomyces cretaceus, Antarctomyces sp.,
Thelebolus sp. and Mrakia frigida.
Isolated fungal taxa appear non-uniformly distributed throughout the sampling
region. Only Cadophora malorum and Mrakia frigida were isolated from SSSI-17.
Geomyces cretaceus, Antarctomyces sp. and Thelebolus sp. were found in samples
from Peterson Island. Three taxa were found at contaminated sites at Casey
Station and four taxa were detected from soils from Wilkes Station.
Basidiomycetous-type yeast, Mrakia frigida occurred in four localities; it was
isolated from soil taken at Thala Valley, SSSI17, Whitney Point and
contaminated sites at Wilkes Station. Geomyces cretaceus was isolated
frequently and from a wide range of habitats, including the harsh environment
of mineral soils near Casey Station and Wilkes Station.