The majority of Antarctic lichens produce sexual organs, and in many species sexual ascospores appear to be the only reproductive propagule. However, it is unknown whether sexual reproduction involves selfing (homothallism) or outcrossing (heterothallism). To investigate this issue we have established axenic cultures of sexual progeny in order to generate DNA fingerprints and thereby determine the breeding system.
This list provides a check-list of the non-lichenized fungi reported from Antarctica that have been published in the literature or deposited in major culture collections. The list includes all macrofungi, filamentous forms and yeasts, together with some members of the Chromista (Straminipila) that have historically been considered as fungi. This compilation excludes lichens, as these species have been extensively listed elsewhere. Primary source data are from the collections and records held in the Biological Sciences Division at British Antarctic Survey and the Mycology Section, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Secondary data is from publicly available specimen and culture collections and scientific literature. The list is part of an ongoing determination of the fungal diversity of the Antarctic region, and this version includes details of names, synonyms, taxonomy and at least one reference to an available record. Within these categories links are made between reported and current names, and all entries are bookmarked to individual references and citations. A details section is currently being developed to include hosts and substrates, this is very much a "work in progress" and is being regularly updated. Details on collection locations are also currently being added, and the information under region indicates at least whether the collection was from the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic , together with more information on location. These two fields will be expanded in the future.
Soil fungi communities from three Antarctic islands were characterised using DNA sequencing. Between October and November 2011, soil samples were collected from Bird Island, Signy Island and Leonie Island in the sub-Antarctic, low maritime and high maritime Antarctic respectively. Soil was collected under populations of Colobanthus quitensis (Kunth) Bartl. and Deschampsia antarctica Desv., the only two native vascular plant species that occur in Antarctica. Total DNA was extracted from the soils and fungal specific primers used to amplify the ribosomal ITS region for subsequent 454 pyrosequencing. Sequences are deposited in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive (study accession SRP068654). Funding was provided by the NERC grants NE/H014098/1, NE/H014772/1 and NE/H01408X/1.