There is a growing awareness of the ecological and biogeochemical importance of fungi in coastal marine systems, while highly diverse fungi have been discovered in these marine systems, still little is known about their seasonality and associated drivers in coastal waters. Here, we examined fungal communities over three years of weekly samples at a dynamic, temperate coastal site (Piver’s Island Coastal Observatory (PICO), Beaufort NC USA). Fungal 18S rRNA gene abundance, OTU richness and Shannon’s diversity exhibited prominent seasonality. Fungi 18S rRNA gene copies peak in abundance during the summer and fall, with positive correlations with chlorophyll a, SiO4 and oxygen saturation. Diversity (measured using Internal Transcribed Spacer: ITS libraries) was highest during winter and lowest during summer; it was linked to temperature, pH, chlorophyll a, insolation, salinity, and DIC. Fungal community ITS libraries were dominated throughout the year by Ascomycota with contributions from Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota and Mucoromycotina, with seasonal patterns linked to water temperature, light, and the carbonate system. Network analysis revealed that while co-occurrence and exclusion existed within fungal network, exclusion dominated the fungi and phytoplankton network, in contrast with reported pathogenic and nutritional interactions between marine phytoplankton and fungi. Compared with the seasonality of bacterial community in the same samples, the timing, extent and associated environmental variables for fungi community are unique. These results highlighted the fungal seasonal dynamics in coastal water and improve our understanding of the ecology of planktonic fungi.ImportanceCoastal fungal dynamics were long assumed to be due to terrestrial inputs; here, a high-resolution time-series, reveals strong, repeating annual patterns linked to in situ environmental conditions, arguing for a resident coastal fungal community shaped by environmental factors. These seasonal patterns do, however, differ from those observed in the bacterioplankton at the same site: e.g., fungal diversity peaks in winter whereas bacterial diversity maxima occur in the spring and fall. While dynamics of these communities are linked to water temperature and insolation, fungi are also influenced by the carbonate system (pH and DIC). As both fungi and heterotrophic bacteria are thought to be key organic material metabolizers, differences in their environmental drivers may offer clues as to which group dominates secondary production at this dynamic site. Overall, this study suggests the unique ecological roles of mycoplankton and their potentially broad niche complementarities to other microbial groups in the coastal ocean.
Duan Y, Xie N, Song Z, Ward CS, Yung C-M, Hunt DE, Johnson ZI, Wang G (2018). High-resolution Time-series Reveals Seasonal Patterns of Planktonic Fungi at a Temperate Coastal Ocean Site (Beaufort, North Carolina, USA). Appl Environ Microbiol. http://doi.org/10.1128/aem.00967-18