Copper tolerant ecotypes of Heliscus lugdunensis differ in their ecological function and growth

Scott Quainoo, Sahadevan Seena, Manuel A.S. Graça

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Metal tolerance in aquatic hyphomycetes varies with the level of pollution at the fungal isolation site. While the focus of previous research has been on the effects of metal exposure on interspecies diversity, intraspecies variation of aquatic hyphomycetes remains largely unexplored. In this study we investigate the effects of Cu on ecological function (litter decomposition) and growth of five strains of Heliscus lugdunensis, isolated from contaminated and un-contaminated streams, in order to examine whether strains are expressed as ecotypes with distinct growth and functional signatures in response to metal stress. When exposed to Cu, strains of H. lugdunensis differed significantly in their litter decomposition and reproductive activity (sporulation) as well as mycelial growth, corresponding to the Cu concentrations at their isolation site. Strains isolated from sites with high Cu concentrations induced the highest litter decomposition or invested most in growth. This study broadens our understanding of Cu pollution in streams, which may lead to evolved adaptations of Cu tolerant ecotypes of H. lugdunensis differing in their ecological function, behaviour and morphology when exposed to metals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Pages (from-to)168-174
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic hyphomycetes
  • Intraspecific diversity
  • Metal tolerance
  • Mining
  • Fungal ecotypes
  • Litter decomposition

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