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Title: Fungi and viruses as important players in microbial mats
Author: Carreira, Cátia
Lønborg, Christian
Kühl, Michael
Lillebø, Ana I.
Sandaa, Ruth-Anne
Villanueva, Laura
Cruz, Sónia
Keywords: Microbial mats
Microbial food web
Issue Date: 28-Oct-2020
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract: Microbial mats are compacted, surface-associated microbial ecosystems reminiscent of the first living communities on early Earth. While often considered predominantly prokaryotic, recent findings show that both fungi and viruses are ubiquitous in microbial mats, albeit their functional roles remain unknown. Fungal research has mostly focused on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems where fungi are known as important recyclers of organic matter, whereas viruses are exceptionally abundant and important in aquatic ecosystems. Here, viruses have shown to affect organic matter cycling and the diversity of microbial communities by facilitating horizontal gene transfer and cell lysis. We hypothesise fungi and viruses to have similar roles in microbial mats. Based on the analysis of previous research in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, we outline novel hypotheses proposing strong impacts of fungi and viruses on element cycling, food web structure and function in microbial mats, and outline experimental approaches for studies needed to understand these interactions.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiaa187
ISSN: 0168-6496
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos

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