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Escarpita, Melissa [1], González, María C. [2], Sánchez, Carlos [3], Reyes-Montes, Rocío [4], Sánchez-Arévalo, Francisco [5].

Global welfare risks of understudied coral-associated fungi.

Coral and rocky reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Corals are colonial marine invertebrates that live in a close association with a diverse community of microscopic marine fungi, named corallicolous fungi. Some grow on the corals surface, named epibiontic, whereas others occur in the interior, called endobiontic. Despite their importance, the diversity and the ecological role of marine fungi associated with corals are poorly known. The majority of our knowledge of these fungi comes from scleractinian corals, and besides most works concentrate on the diseases caused by marine fungi, whereas less attention has been given to their beneficial contributions to corals. Some corallicolous marine fungi are found exclusively in coral reefs, like the species from the genera  Corallicola and Koralionastes, whereas other species are widely distributed in several ecosystems. Aspergillus sydowii is the only well studied pathogenic fungus of corals, which is responsible for the decline of sea fans in the Caribbean. Even so, in other coral diseases some studies have described the presence of fungi, suggesting this is not the only disease in which they can be implicated. Recently, there has been an interest in the effects of marine fungi on coral reef resilience. Some studies have suggested that they contribute to skeletal biomineralization, fixation of nitrogen, reduction of UV damage to the coral, among others. Currently, the ocean is facing environmental threats, pollution, high temperatures, and acidification that put corals at risk. So, understanding the diversity of marine fungi associated with corals is an important goal, because they are likely to play an important role in these ecosystems. Therefore, if the lack of knowledge remains, the risk is that decline of species diversity in these ecosystems will be accelerated.

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1 - UNAM, Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biologia, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacan, Mexico City, 04510, México
2 - Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biología, UNAM
3 - UABCS, Departamento de Ciencias Marinas y Costeras, Laboratorio de Fauna Arrecifal, La Paz, BCS, 23080, México
4 - UNAM, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Medicina, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacan, Mexico City, 04510, México
5 - UNAM, Departamento Reología, Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacan, Mexico City, 04510, México

coral reef ecosystems
gorgonian corals

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: MYP2, Mycology Posters II
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: MYP2015
Abstract ID:931
Candidate for Awards:None

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