Mesophotic coral ecosystems are an almost entirely unexplored and undocumented environment that likely contains vast reservoirs of undescribed biodiversity. Twenty-four macroalgae samples, representing four genera, were collected from a Hawaiian mesophotic reef at water depths between 65 and 86 m in the ‘Au‘au Channel, Maui, Hawai‘i. Algal tissues were surveyed for the presence and diversity of fungi by sequencing the ITS1 gene using Illumina technology. Fungi from these algae were then compared to previous fungal surveys conducted in Hawaiian terrestrial ecosystems. Twenty-seven percent of the OTUs present on the mesophotic coral ecosystem samples were shared between the marine and terrestrial environment. Subsequent analyses indicated that host species of algae significantly differentiate fungal community composition. This work demonstrates yet another understudied habitat with a moderate diversity of fungi that should be considered when estimating global fungal diversity.
USA - Hawaii