Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 9, 1125–1136, 2012

Special issue: Earth observation for land-atmosphere interaction science

Biogeosciences, 9, 1125–1136, 2012

Research article 27 Mar 2012

Research article | 27 Mar 2012

Biogeography in the air: fungal diversity over land and oceans

J. Fröhlich-Nowoisky1,2, S. M. Burrows3, Z. Xie1,4, G. Engling5,6, P. A. Solomon7, M. P. Fraser8, O. L. Mayol-Bracero9, P. Artaxo10, D. Begerow11, R. Conrad12, M. O. Andreae1, V. R. Després2,13, and U. Pöschl1,2 J. Fröhlich-Nowoisky et al.
  • 1Biogeochemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Earth System Science Center, Institute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Joh.-Joachim-Becher-Weg 21, 55128 Mainz, Germany
  • 3Atmospheric Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 4Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, 230026, China
  • 5Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
  • 6Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan
  • 7Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Laboratory, US EPA – Las Vegas, 944 E. Harmon Ave, Rm. 235 Las Vegas, Nevada 89119, USA
  • 8Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 875402, Tempe, AZ 85287-5402, USA
  • 9Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 70377, San Juan, PR 00936-8377, USA
  • 10Instituto de Fisica, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 05508-900 SP, Brazil
  • 11Department of Evolution and Biodiversity of Plants, Geobotany Section, Ruhr University Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany
  • 12Max Plank Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Straße, Marburg 35043, Germany
  • 13Institute of General Botany, Johannes Gutenberg University, Johannes-von-Müller-Weg 6, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Biogenic aerosols are relevant for the Earth system, climate, and public health on local, regional, and global scales. Up to now, however, little is known about the diversity and biogeography of airborne microorganisms. We present the first DNA-based analysis of airborne fungi on global scales, showing pronounced geographic patterns and boundaries. In particular we find that the ratio of species richness between Basidiomycota and Ascomycota is much higher in continental air than in marine air. This may be an important difference between the "blue ocean" and "green ocean" regimes in the formation of clouds and precipitation, for which fungal spores can act as nuclei. Our findings also suggest that air flow patterns and the global atmospheric circulation are important for the understanding of global changes in biodiversity.

Final-revised paper