Putative fossilized fungi from the lithified volcaniclastic apron of Gran Canaria, Spain
2011 (English)In: Astrobiology, ISSN 1531-1074, E-ISSN 1557-8070, Vol. 11, no 7, 633-650 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We report the discovery of fossilized filamentous structures in samples of the lithified, volcaniclastic apron of Gran Canaria, which were obtained during Leg 157 of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). These filamentous structures are 2–15 μm in diameter and several hundred micrometers in length and are composed of Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Mg, Na, Ti, and C. Chitin was detected in the filamentous structures by staining with wheat germ agglutinin dye conjugated with fluorescein isothiocyanate (WGA-FITC), which suggests that they are fossilized fungal hyphae. The further elucidation of typical filamentous fungal morphological features, such as septa, hyphal bridges, and anastomosis and their respective sizes, support this interpretation. Characteristic structures that we interpreted as fossilized spores were also observed in association with the putative hyphae. The fungal hyphae were found in pyroxene phenocrysts and in siderite pseudomorphs of a basalt breccia. The fungal colonization of the basalt clasts occurred after the brecciation but prior to the final emplacement and lithification of the sediment at 16–14 Ma. The siderite appears to have been partially dissolved by the presence of fungal hyphae, and the fungi preferentially colonized Fe-rich carbonates over Fe-poor carbonates (aragonite). Our findings indicate that fungi may be an important geobiological agent in subseafloor environments and an important component of the deep subseafloor biosphere, and that hydrothermal environments associated with volcanism can support a diverse ecosystem, including eukaryotes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New Rochelle, NY: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. , 2011. Vol. 11, no 7, 633-650 p.
Fossilized fungi, volcaniclastic material, hydrothermal environments, subsurface biosphere, siderite
Research subject Biogeochemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62503DOI: 10.1089/ast.2010.0593ISI: 000294956200005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62503DiVA: diva2:442372