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IMPACT OF PARASITIC FUNGI ON THE DIVERSITY AND FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY OF MARINE PHYTOPLANKTON $0.00
Authors:  Guangyi Wang and Zackary I. Johnson
Abstract:
The population structure and dynamics of phytoplankton are governed by complex
interactions between several biotic and abiotic factors. The importance of physical and
chemical conditions and predation has been well-documented in the ecology of
phytoplankton. Parasitism, which was originally examined in mid-1970’s, has also been
shown to play an important role in the population dynamics and ecology of
phytoplankton. Parasitic fungi are best known to infect large phytoplankton (e.g., diatoms
and dinoflagellates), but their ecological function has been largely under-studied in
marine ecosystems. The currently described marine fungal parasites, including true fungi
and fungal-like organisms, belong to 5 classes (Chytridiomycetes, Sordariomycetes,
Dothideomycetes, Oomycetes, and Labyrinthulomycetes) and 11 orders. These fungi
infect and potentially influence the dynamics and community structure of diverse groups
of marine phytoplankton. Through their top-down effects, these fungal pathogens can
also alter material flows within the microbial food web in the marine ecosystem. This
chapter reviews findings on the diversity of parasitic fungi and what is currently known
about their impact on the functional ecology of marine phytoplankton. 


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