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University pond reveals hidden history of fungi
Date:5/11/2011

esent in samples taken from all over the world. The huge genetic diversity and prevalence of this group leads us to believe they probably play an important role in a range of environmental processes.

"It is possible there are many different forms of this organism with a range of characteristics we don't even know about yet. There is a lot more research to be done to find establish how they feed, reproduce, grow, and their importance in natural ecosystems."

This study is the result of new efforts to try to understand the diversity of life on Earth by taking DNA sampling out into the field.

Until recent years, researchers investigating microbial diversity have sampled by growing microbes in lab cultures, but now it seems that the vast majority of life forms are never captured using these methods meaning most of the evolutionary complexity of life remains unsampled.

Researchers are getting around this by sampling the DNA in the environment, which is leading to a series of new discoveries about microbial diversity and the complexity of life on Earth.

In this study, the researchers noticed an unusual group of DNA sequence in samples from the pond on the University of Exeter's Streatham Campus. They then illuminated the cells of the cryptomycota using a fluorescent probe and were able for the first time to observe these hitherto hidden fungi.


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Contact: Daniel Williams
d.d.williams@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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