Roles of parasitic fungi in aquatic food webs


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Photo Credit: Dr. Maiko Kagami

Miki et al. 2011

Recent molecular phylogenetic surveys show that parasites of phytoplankton may play an important role in the food web and ecosystem dynamics. For example, the ‘mycoloop’ exemplifies a novel trophic interaction among parasitic fungi, the chytrids, its host, diatoms, and consumer, zooplankton. Professor Miki and colleagues developed a food web model to evaluate the roles of mycoloop in the aquatic ecosystem. They show that chytrids enhance zooplankton production via mycoloop, and that the importance of mycoloop increases with eutrophication of ecosystems.