Microbial community associated with the crustose lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum L. (DC.) living on oceanic seashore: A large source of diversity revealed by using multiple isolation methods

Miral A., Jargeat P., Mambu L., Rouaud I., Tranchimand S. & Tomasi S.
Environmental Microbiology Reports
14: 856–872
DOI: 10.1111/1758-2229.13105
Recently, the study of the interactions within a microcosm between hosts and their associated microbial communities drew an unprecedented interest arising from the holobiont concept. Lichens, a symbiotic association between a fungus and an alga, are redefined as complex ecosystems considering the tremendous array of associated microorganisms that satisfy this concept. The present study focuses on the diversity of the microbiota associated with the seashore located lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum, recovered by different culture-dependent methods. Samples harvested from two sites allowed the isolation and the molecular identification of 68 fungal isolates distributed in 43 phylogenetic groups, 15 bacterial isolates distributed in five taxonomic groups and three microalgae belonging to two species. Moreover, for 12 fungal isolates belonging to 10 different taxa, the genus was not described in GenBank. These fungal species have never been sequenced or described and therefore non-studied. All these findings highlight the novel and high diversity of the microflora associated with R. geographicum. While many species disappear every day, this work suggests that coastal and wild environments still contain an unrevealed variety to offer and that lichens constitute a great reservoir of new microbial taxa which can be recovered by multiplying the culture-dependent techniques.
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