The roles of endolithic fungi in bioerosion and disease in marine ecosystems. I. General concepts

Frank H. Gleason (Lead / Corresponding author), Geoffrey M. Gadd, John I. Pitt, Anthony W. D. Larkum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
202 Downloads (Pure)


Endolithic true fungi and fungus-like microorganisms penetrate calcareous substrates formed by living organisms, cause significant bioerosion and are involved in diseases of many host animals in marine ecosystems. A theoretical interactive model for the ecology of reef-building corals is proposed in this review. This model includes five principle partners that exist in a dynamic equilibrium: polyps of a colonial coelenterate, endosymbiotic zooxanthellae, endolithic algae (that penetrate coral skeletons), endolithic fungi (that attack the endolithic algae, the zooxanthellae and the polyps) and prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms (which live in the coral mucus). Endolithic fungi and fungus-like boring microorganisms are important components of the marine calcium carbonate cycle because they actively contribute to the biodegradation of shells of animals composed of calcium carbonate and calcareous geological substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalMycology: An International Journal on Fungal Biology
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2017


  • Calcareous substrates
  • calcium carbonate
  • coral skeletons
  • diseases of corals
  • global climate change
  • zooxanthellae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Plant Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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