Research regarding the distribution and structure of fungal communities in caves is lacking. The current study examines fungal communities in Kartchner Caverns, a mineralogically diverse cave located in the Whetstone Mountains, Arizona, USA. The first study examines culturable fungal diversity from speleothem surfaces. Twenty-one fungal genera represented by 43 genotypes and 53 distinct morphological taxonomic units (MTU) were recovered from 15 speleothems. Analysis of DGGE profiles indicated a significant effect of sampling site on community structure. The second study examined fungal diversity from speleothem and rock wall surfaces using the 454 FLX Titanium sequencing platform using the rDNA internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) as a genetic marker. Fungal diversity was estimated and compared between speleothem and rock wall surfaces and its variation with distance from the natural entrance of the cave was quantified. Effects of environmental factors and nutrient concentrations in speleothem drip water at different sample sites on fungal diversity were also examined. Sequencing revealed 2219 fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at 95% similarity. Speleothems supported a higher fungal richness and diversity than rock walls, but community membership and the taxonomic distribution of fungal OTUs did not differ significantly. OTU richness and diversity were negatively correlated with distance from the natural cave entrance. Community membership and taxonomic distribution of fungal OTUs differed significantly between the front and back of the cave. There was no observed effect of drip water nutrient concentration on fungal community structure. The third study examined fungal community structure from bat guano over the course of a year. There was no significant difference in fungal OTU richness, diversity, or community membership and taxonomic affiliations among sampling times. There were no significant differences in nutrient concentrations of guano samples among sampling times. Nutrient concentration did have a significant effect on community structure, especially the level of nitrogen and calcium.
|Advisor:||Pryor, Barry M.|
|Commitee:||Arnold, A. Elizabeth, Bronstein, Judith L., Cotty, Peter J., Orbach, Marc J., Pryor, Barry M.|
|School:||The University of Arizona|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Arizona, Bat guano, Cave microbiology, Cave mycology, Environmental microbiology, Fungal community, Speleothems|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be