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Australian duststorm associated with extensive Aspergillus sydowii fungal “bloom” in coastal waters


Hallegraeff, G and Coman, F and Davies, C and Hayashi, A and McLeod, D and Slotwinski, A and Whittock, L and Richardson, AJ, Australian duststorm associated with extensive Aspergillus sydowii fungal 'bloom' in coastal waters, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 80, (11) pp. 3315-3320. ISSN 0099-2240 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 American Society for Microbiology

DOI: doi:10.1128/AEM.04118-13


A massive central Australian dust storm in September 2009 was associated with abundant fungal spores (150,000/m3) and hyphae in coastal waters between Brisbane (27°S) and Sydney (34°S). These spores were successfully germinated from formalin-preserved samples, and using molecular sequencing of three different genes (the large subunit rRNA gene [LSU], internal transcribed spacer [ITS[, and beta-tubulin gene), they were conclusively identified as Aspergillus sydowii, an organism circumstantially associated with gorgonian coral fan disease in the Caribbean. Surprisingly, no human health or marine ecosystem impacts were associated with this Australian dust storm event. Australian fungal cultures were nontoxic to fish gills and caused a minor reduction in the motility of Alexandrium or Chattonella algal cultures but had their greatest impacts on Symbiodinium dinoflagellate coral symbiont motility, with hyphae being more detrimental than spores. While we have not yet seen any soft coral disease outbreaks on the Australian Great Barrier Reef similar to those observed in the Caribbean and while this particular fungal population was non- or weakly pathogenic, our observations raise the possibility of future marine ecosystem pathogen impacts from similar dust storms harboring more pathogenic strains.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Aspergillus, fungal bloom
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Phycology (incl. marine grasses)
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hallegraeff, G (Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff)
UTAS Author:Hayashi, A (Ms Aiko Hayashi)
UTAS Author:Whittock, L (Dr Lucy Whittock)
ID Code:91207
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP130102725)
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-05-11
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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