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Keywords:

  • Fungi;
  • marine;
  • red algae;
  • seaweed

Abstract

This study is the first to investigate and characterize the mycobiota associated with the alien species Asparagopsis taxiformis, a rhodophyte classified as one of the ‘100 worst invasive species’ in the Mediterranean Sea by the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, as it threatens biodiversity. Fungal endophyte and epiphyte communities were investigated on algal specimens from two sampling sites on the island of Linosa (Marine Protected Area Isole Pelagie, Italy). 87% of the 24 specimens that were analysed for epiphytes displayed a microfungal colonization. No endophytes were found. Only a small amount of microfungi was found to be associated with this alga. Only five fungal taxa were isolated; two of which are sporadically associated with the alga, while three, Eurotium rubrum, Cladosporium cladosporioides and Cladosporium pseudocladosporioides, seem to be related to A. taxiformis. This scarcity could be related to algal chemical composition.