28 Jun 2022


Unique Fungi of the Arctic

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Fungi are so different with plants and animals; they are as well important that they have been classified in their kingdom of life. Fungi absorb food from organic matter from other living organisms. Fungi in most cases are non-photosynthetic. Fungi are always divided into two groups based on their feeding character. These include saprophytes and parasites. Saprophytes own this classification as they are characterized by getting their foods mostly from the dead organisms. Parasites of the relatively small groups of fungi obtain their food from the living organisms. Fungi produce through both sexual and asexual. Fungi are either unicellular or multi-cellular. Robinson (2001) believes that there are d ifferent types of fungi are adapted to different ecological niche thereby giving them certain characteristics that are associated with them. Fungi can be found in any environment ranging from the water to soul and even the human body or skin. This research paper is majorly concerned with those Arctic fungi that live in the hygroscopic environment. The paper will address the characteristics of Arctic Fungi, and their adaptation means to those environments. 

According to Rippon (1982), t he Arctic fungi are those that found in the cold and hygroscopic regions, these types if fungi are critical as well as significant for the ecosystem in which they live. Fungi are diversified to the extent that they form a subgroup, the lichens. They characterize by the unusual vegetative nature of the ecological niche of which they exist. This is seen in the highly arctic regions and the sub-arctic region. When fungi are exposed to favorable weather and ecological conditions, they produce conspicuous sporocarps that are commonly referred to as the mushrooms ( Moilanent and Kiellandt, 1993). The Arctic fungi have developed certain adaptive features that help it grow under the extreme cold temperatures with at time several layers of snow. They adapt ways that assist them in carrying their photosynthetic needs. They are suited to the quick production of flowers during summer thus fastening the production processes such that when the season comes, they already done with the floral stage. The environment opts longevity and mycelial range of individual fungal mycelia . The Arctic fungi show various adaptive features that help its survival in the environment. They have a tendency to simplify their life cycle similar to that seen in the rust as asserted by Robinson (2001). Thus, it makes the species Pyrenomycetes much rare in the temperate regions. They have limited accessory pores to suppress the physiological form of the fungi in this class. It clearly explains the reason as to why fungi have split up into different types that are either wholly ascigerous or entirely conidial. 

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Pyrenomycetes dominate majorly amongst the saprophytes due to the ability to stop any form of development or rather growth at any stage when winter comes in and resume at spring. It explains why at very extreme cold summers and remarkably depauperate flora, different species of Hymenomycetes survive in this condition because of the few unresolved taxonomic problems. It enables fungi to take around two or three years to mature their ascocarps. Due to freezing conditions in the region , bacteria decay becomes so slow in plants so as to keep the plant tissues available to the fungi until their spasmodic development finished in the areas mostly covered by the snow partly or mainly in the summer seasons (Robinson, 2001). Fungi in arctic regions have large and spread spores that are used to stick to the seeds of their host plants. They are either carried in the form of the attached spores or germinate and grow to develop into tissues. It is to help in the survival of ingestions of seeds by birds used as the potential agents of pollination in this case (Geml et al. 2012). The production of airborne spores in large quantities assists in the survival of these species if the fungi, they majorly grow on the dead parts of the flowering plants so at to gain the advantage that comes along with the agents of pollination. 

Fungi are as well important in the plant's Arctic nitrogen cycle. They relate in a symbiotic manner with plants as they help in transferring some useful nutrient to the plants that host them. A study conducted by Hobbie (2006), indicates that ecosystems with inadequate nitrogen supply might affect these arctic lives. And taking into consideration the fungi will be an important tool in the study of nitrogen supply for the plants. A mycorrhizal fungus facilitates the transfer of such nutrients to their host plant that on the symbiotic nature will suck the plant's sugar derived from photosynthesis especially when the nitrogen in the plant is in limited supply to sustain the host plant's needs ( Moilanent and Kiellandt, 1993). 

However much people tend to think that fungi are associated with diseases, fungi are also important as they provide food for both human and animals. A perfect example is the lichens that provide food for the arctic animals like the caribou and the ever migrating snow geese. Some fungi forms like mushroom are a good meal for human beings. Fungi are also used as medicine for people's health care. They are also used as a tool in medical research ( Geml et al ., 2012). It has an economic importance that comes along with a safe, non-toxic means to control insects. Fungi works in a way that it attracts the insect those are associated with their destructive characteristic to want to feed on it. Once they are attracted, they feed on the fungus that infects them, and finally, they die. Fungi have a phagostimulatory effect that causes the insect to want to feed on it, this effect causes the insect appetite to increase coming along with the urge to feed leading them to a wrong end. This way it provides a very efficient and non-toxic way to reduce the plant's insects in Antarctic regions as asserted by Rippon (1982). 

In conclusion, Arctic fungus has both the positive and the negative implications on the ecosystem within which they exist. They are grown to adapt to certain ecological niche as asserted by Robinson (2001). Fungi are also essential in the biosphere as they help in the recycling of nutrients that are useful in the system and assists in decomposition as they assist in the breakdown of organic wastes. 


Geml, J., Timling , I., Robinson, C. H., Lennon, N., Nusbaum, H. C., Brochmann, C., ... & Taylor, D. L. (2012). An arctic community of symbiotic fungi assembled by long ‐ distance dispersers: phylogenetic diversity of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes in Svalbard based on soil and sporocarp DNA.    Journal of Biogeography   39 (1), 74-88. 

Hobbie, J. E., & Hobbie, E. A. (2006). 15N in symbiotic fungi and plants estimates nitrogen and carbon flux rates in Arctic tundra.    Ecology   87 (4), 816-822. 

Ill, F. S. C., Moilanent, L., & Kiellandt, K. (1993). Preferential use of organic nitrogen for growth by a non-mycorrhizal arctic sedge.    Nature   361 , 14. 

Rippon, J. W. (1982).    Medical mycology; the pathogenic fungi and the pathogenic actinomycetes . Eastbourne, UK; WB Saunders Company. 

Robinson, C. H. (2001). Cold adaptation in Arctic and Antarctic fungi.    New Phytologist   151 (2), 341-353. 

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