4 years ago

Integrating chytrid fungal parasites into plankton ecology: research gaps and needs

Albert Reñé, Frithjof C. Küpper, Adeline Loyau, Maiko Kagami, Christian Wurzbacher, Jens C. Nejstgaard, Serena Rasconi, Silke Van den Wyngaert, Ellen Van Donk, Peter M. Letcher, Ramsy Agha, Justyna Wolinska, Bettina Scholz, Keilor Rojas-Jimenez, Télesphore Sime-Ngando, Dirk S. Schmeller, Bas W. Ibelings, Alena S. Gsell, Thijs Frenken, Assaf Sukenik, Hans-Peter Grossart, Elisabet Alacid, Dedmer B. Van de Waal, Elizabeth C. Bourne, Kensuke Seto, Stella A. Berger, Thomas Rohrlack, Takeshi Miki, Mélanie Gerphagnon
Chytridiomycota, often referred to as chytrids, can be virulent parasites with the potential to inflict mass mortalities on hosts, causing e.g. changes in phytoplankton size distributions and succession, and the delay or suppression of bloom events. Molecular environmental surveys have revealed an unexpectedly large diversity of chytrids across a wide range of aquatic ecosystems worldwide. As a result, scientific interest towards fungal parasites of phytoplankton has been gaining momentum in the past few years. Yet, we still know little about the ecology of chytrids, their life cycles, phylogeny, host specificity and range. Information on the contribution of chytrids to trophic interactions, as well as co-evolutionary feedbacks of fungal parasitism on host populations is also limited. This paper synthesizes ideas stressing the multifaceted biological relevance of phytoplankton chytridiomycosis, resulting from discussions among an international team of chytrid researchers. It presents our view on the most pressing research needs for promoting the integration of chytrid fungi into aquatic ecology.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13827

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