Filamentous Fungi – SAV symbionts   
Aspergillus versicolor

Station Location: Marshy Creek Pier, GPS coordinates: 38°57’09.85”N, 76°13’45.44”W
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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Fungi
  • Division: Ascomycota
  • Class: Eurotiomycetes
  • Order: Eurotiales
  • Family: Trichocomaceae
  • Genus/Species: representative organism – Aspergillus versicolor

Symbionts are organisms that live in a close biological relationship with one another.  The symbiotic relationship can be beneficial to both partners (mutualism), beneficial to only one of the partners (commensalism), or detrimental to one of the partners (parasitism).  The association of fungi with vascular plants, such as crop plants and trees, is an example of a mutually beneficial symbiosis (with some exceptions).  This relationship is called a mycorrhizal symbiosis, and this symbiosis is generally beneficial to the plant partner by increasing nutrient absorption and decreasing the effects of toxins and pathogens.  The relationship has been well studied in terrestrial plants, but it’s important to know that the health of submerged aquatic plants (SAV) may also depend on such mycorrhizal associations.  The SAV beds that you can see from the pier are a complex association of the vascular plants with a wide variety of microorganisms, including many that are beneficial to the continuing health of the visible plants.

Learn More:

Surprising spectra of root-associated fungi in submerged aquatic plants

AM fungal communities inhabiting the roots of submerged aquatic plant Lobelia dortmanna are diverse and include a high proportion of novel taxa.

The New York Botanical Garden: Hidden Partners: Mycorrhizal Fungi and Plants

Notes & References:

photo attribution: (distributable under Creative Commons License)