Diversity of fungi isolated from Kingsport, Nova Scotia intertidal mudflat sediment
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Science
Coastal and open ocean ecosystems rely on understudied marine fungi for their role as the primary decomposers of plant material, including wood and other organic debris. Some fungal enzymes responsible for degrading the lignin and cellulose components of plant tissues are capable of metabolizing hydrocarbon components of crude oil. As contamination of aquatic communities during transportation and storage of crude oil remains a persistent issue, the need for reliable remediation strategies increases. Marine fungal species native to the Bay of Fundy are underexplored. Fungi were collected from the Kingsport and Wolfville Harbour intertidal zones of the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia using sediment coring along transects (Kingsport, Nova Scotia) and wood block bait trap collection methods (Wolfville Harbour and Kingsport, Kings County, Nova Scotia). Fungi cultured from sediment were identified via ITSrDNA barcoding. Twenty-two morphologically distinct cultures were obtained from Kingsport intertidal sediment, yielding 13 species from 9 ascomycete genera. Differences in species identified between early and late summer 2018 collection dates were not observed, nor were differences in cultured fungal assemblages with sediment collection depth. Fungi of interest include the cosmopolitan Pseudeurotium bakeri, known to survive high levels of diesel fuel contamination, and the yeast Candida sake, known to survive in Antarctic waters and used as a biocontrol agent against apple disease. Of the 13 species identified, only K. lactis and C. sake have been previously recorded in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia. Future research includes evaluating the enzymatic and surfactant abilities of candidate strains which may assist in the breakdown of marine and coastal crude oil contaminants.
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