Laura Selbmann

Laura Selbmann
Tuscia University | Tuscia · Department of Biological and Ecological Sciences DEB

MSC in Biology, PhD

About

179
Publications
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Publications

Publications (179)
Preprint
The metacommunity framework has been rarely adopted to investigate the underlying ecological mechanisms shaping microbial communities. With the aid of advanced molecular techniques, we investigated sediment communities of Fungi, Bacteria and Archaea in four Italian show caves aiming to disentangle the effects induced by tourists on species richness...
Article
Full-text available
Black yeasts are among the most stress-tolerant organisms of the planet, thriving under all types of terrestrial habitats and extreme environments. Yet, their global patterns and ecology remain far less studied, limiting our capacity to identify the main environmental drivers of these important organisms across biomes. To fill this knowledge gap, w...
Article
Rock-dwelling fungi play critical ecological roles in drylands, including soil formation and nutrient cycling; however, we know very little about the identity, function and environmental preferences of these important organisms, and the mere existence of a consistent rock mycobiome across diverse arid regions of the planet remains undetermined. To...
Article
Extreme environments on Earth are typically devoid of macro life forms and are inhabited predominantly by highly adapted and specialized microorganisms. The discovery and persistence of these extremophiles provides tools to model how life arose on Earth and inform us on the limits of life. Fungi, in particular, are among the most extreme-tolerant o...
Article
Asexually reproducing fungi play a significant role in essential processes in managed and wild ecosystems such as nutrients cycling and multitrophic interactions. A large number of such taxa are among the most notorious plant and animal pathogens. In addition, they have a key role in food production, biotechnology and medicine. Taxa without or rare...
Article
Soils are important reservoirs for potential human pathogens and opportunistic fungi such as the dermatophyte or dimorphic fungi in the order Onygenales. In soils, these taxa are decomposers but many of them have the potential to cause respiratory and skin diseases in humans and, in some cases, systemic infections. Even so, the factors that determi...
Article
Full-text available
The diversity and composition of endolithic bacterial diversity of several locations in McMurdo Dry Valleys (Continental Antarctica) were explored using amplicon sequencing, targeting the V3 and V4 of the 16S region. Despite the increasing interest in edaphic factors that drive bacterial community composition in Antarctic rocky communities, few res...
Article
Full-text available
Mars exploration motivates the search for extraterrestrial life, the development of space technologies, and the design of human missions and habitations. Here, we seek new insights and pose unresolved questions relating to the natural history of Mars, habitability, robotic and human exploration, planetary protection, and the impacts on human societ...
Article
Full-text available
Fungi are vital functional members of the biosphere, playing a crucial role in sustaining ecosystems by maintaining the nutrient balance. Many studies have verified the abundance of fungi across all-natural ecosystems and habitats, such as in forests, fresh-water (including both lentic or lotic), marine environments and deserts. With the focus prev...
Article
Full-text available
Mars exploration motivates the search for extraterrestrial life, the development of space technologies, and the design of human missions and habitations. Here, we seek new insights and pose unresolved questions relating to the natural history of Mars, habitability, robotic and human exploration, planetary protection, and the impacts on human societ...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial endolithic communities are the main and most widespread life forms in the coldest and hyper-arid desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and other ice-free areas across Victoria Land, Antarctica. There, the lichen-dominated communities are complex and self-supporting assemblages of phototrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms, including bacter...
Article
Mars is a primary target of astrobiological interest: its past environmental conditions may have been favourable to the emergence of a prebiotic chemistry and, potentially, biological activity. In situ exploration is currently underway at the Mars surface, and the subsurface (2 m depth) will be explored in the future ESA ExoMars mission. In this co...
Preprint
Full-text available
Antarctic deserts are among the driest and coldest ecosystems of the planet; there, some microbes hang on to life under these extreme conditions inside porous rocks, forming the so-called endolithic communities. Yet, the contribution of distinct rock traits to support complex microbial assemblies remains poorly determined. Here, we combined an exte...
Article
Full-text available
Endolithic microorganisms have been reported to date in hot and cold drylands worldwide, where they represent the prevailing life forms ensuring ecosystem functionality, playing a paramount role in global biogeochemical processes. We report here an amplicon sequencing characterization of rocks collected from Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP), USA.
Chapter
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Fungi represent one of the most diverse and ancient branches of the tree of life and have a worldwide distribution. They successfully colonize every biome, including extreme environments such as polar and desert regions, playing a pivotal role in global biogeochemical processes. In the fungal kingdom, “black fungi” (or microcolonial fungi or merist...
Article
Full-text available
Astrobiology is often regarded as the study of life beyond Earth, but here we consider life on Earth through an astrobiological lens. Microbiology has historically focused on various anthropocentric sub‐fields (such as fermented foods or commensals and pathogens of crop plants, livestock, and humans), but addressing key biological questions via ast...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cryptoendolithic communities are microbial ecosystems dwelling inside porous rocks that are able to persist at the edge of the biological potential for life in the ice-free areas of the Antarctic desert. These regions include the McMurdo Dry Valleys, often accounted as the closest terrestrial counterpart of the Martian environment and t...
Article
Full-text available
In the harshest environmental conditions of the Antarctic desert, normally incompatible with active life, microbes are adapted to exploit the cryptoendolithic habitat (i.e., pore spaces of rocks) and represent the predominant life-forms. In the rocky niche, microbes take advantage of the thermal buffering, physical stability, protection against UV...
Article
The diversity and composition of Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial communities in the Mars-analogue site of Helliwell Hills (Northern Victoria Land, Continental Antarctica) is investigated, for the first time, applying both culture-dependent and high-throughput sequencing approaches. The study includes all the domains of the tree of life: Eukary...
Article
Full-text available
Cryptoendolithic communities are almost the sole life form in the ice-free areas of the Antarctic desert, encompassing among the most extreme-tolerant organisms known on Earth that still assure ecosystems functioning, regulating nutrient and biogeochemical cycles under conditions accounted as incompatible with active life. If high-throughput sequen...
Chapter
The cryptoendolithic endemic black fungus Cryomyces antarcticus was first isolated from sandstone collected at Linnaeus Terrace, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, by E.I. Friedmann in 1982, but published as a new species and genus in 2005. The McMurdo Dry Valleys are the coldest hyperarid desert on Earth and one of the best t...
Article
Full-text available
The polyphyletic group of black fungi within the Ascomycota (Arthoniomycetes, Dothideomycetes, and Eurotiomycetes) is ubiquitous in natural and anthropogenic habitats. Partly because of their dark, melanin-based pigmentation, black fungi are resistant to stresses including UV-and ionizing-radiation, heat and desiccation, toxic metals, and organic p...
Article
Full-text available
In an era of rapid climate change and expansion of desertification, the extremely harsh conditions of drylands are a true challenge for microbial life. Under drought conditions, where most life forms cannot survive, rocks represent the main refuge for life. Indeed, the endolithic habitat provides thermal buffering, physical stability, and protectio...
Article
Full-text available
The endolithic niche represents an ultimate refuge to microorganisms in the Mars-like environment of the Antarctic desert. In an era of rapid global change and desertification, the interest in these border ecosystems is increasing due to speculation on how they maintain balance and functionality at the dry limits of life. To assure a reliable estim...
Article
A perennially frozen lake at Boulder Clay site (Victoria Land, Antarctica), characterized by the presence of frost mounds, have been selected as an in‐situ model for ecological studies. Different samples of permafrost, glacier ice and brines have been studied as a unique habitat system. An additional sample of brines (collected in another frozen la...
Article
Ice-free regions in coastal areas of Victoria Land, Antarctica, are patchily distributed, limited in extent and characterized by a simple vegetation of lichens and mosses, growing only for a short period during the austral summer. These organisms are associated with soil particles and microorganisms (e.g., algae, microfungi and bacteria) to make up...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities are self-supporting borderline ecosystems spreading across the extreme conditions of the Antarctic desert and represent the predominant life-form in the ice-free areas of McMurdo Dry Valleys, accounted as the closest terrestrial Martian analogue. Components of these communities are highly adapted extremophiles...
Article
Stress is a normal part of life for fungi, which can survive in environments considered inhospitable or hostile for other organisms. Due to the ability of fungi to respond to, survive in, and transform the environment, even under severe stresses, many researchers are exploring the mechanisms that enable fungi to adapt to stress. The International S...
Article
Full-text available
A draft genome sequence was assembled and annotated of the basidiomycetous yeast Rhodotorula sp. strain CCFEE 5036, isolated from Antarctic soil communities. The genome assembly is 19.07 megabases and encodes 6,434 protein-coding genes. The sequence will contribute to understanding the diversity of fungi inhabiting polar regions.
Article
The harsh environmental conditions of the ice-free regions of Continental Antarctica are considered one of the closest Martian analogues on Earth. There, rocks play a pivotal role as substratum for life and endolithism represents a primary habitat for microorganisms when external environmental conditions become incompatible with active life on rock...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides an outline of the classification of the kingdom Fungi (including fossil fungi. i.e. dispersed spores, mycelia, sporophores, mycorrhizas). We treat 19 phyla of fungi. These are Aphelidiomycota, Ascomycota, Basidiobolomycota, Basidiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Calcarisporiellomycota, Caulochytriomycota, Chytridiomycota, Entomoph...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article provides an outline of the classification of the kingdom Fungi (including fossil fungi. i.e. dispersed spores, mycelia, sporophores, mycorrhizas). We treat 19 phyla of fungi. These are Aphelidiomycota, Ascomycota, Basidiobolomycota, Basidiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Calcarisporiellomycota, Caulochytriomycota, Chytridiomycota, Entomoph...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities are microbial ecosystems dwelling inside rocks of the Antarctic desert. We present the first 18 shotgun metagenomes from these communities to further characterize their composition, biodiversity, functionality, and adaptation. Future studies will integrate taxonomic and functional annotations to examine the pa...
Article
Full-text available
Describing the total biodiversity of an environmental metacommunity is challenging due to the presence of cryptic and rare species and incompletely described taxonomy. How many samples to collect is a common issue that faces ecologists when designing fieldwork sampling. Nowadays, high-throughput sequencing allows examination of large numbers of sam...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cryptoendolithic communities are microbial ecosystems dwelling inside porous rocks. They are able to persist at the edge of the biological potential for life in the ice-free areas of continental Antarctica. These areas include the McMurdo Dry Valleys, often cited as a Terrestrial analog of the Martian environment. Despite their interest as a model...
Article
Full-text available
The microbial communities that inhabit lithic niches inside sandstone in the Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys of life’s limits on Earth. The cryptoendolithic communities survive in these ice-free areas that have the lowest temperatures on Earth coupled with strong thermal fluctuations, extreme aridity, oligotrophy and high levels of solar and UV radia...
Article
Friedmanniomyces endolithicus is a highly melanized fungus endemic to the Antarctic, occurring exclusively in endolithic communities of the ice-free areas of the Victoria Land, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the coldest and most hyper-arid desert on Earth and accounted as the Martian analog on our planet. F. endolithicus is highly successful in...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Dothideomycetes is the most diverse fungal class in Ascomycota and includes species with a wide range of lifestyles. Previous multilocus studies have investigated the taxonomic and evolutionary relationships of these taxa but often failed to resolve early diverging nodes and frequently generated inconsistent placements of some clades. Here...
Article
Fungi are the most abundant and one of the most diverse components of arctic soil ecosystems, where they are fundamental drivers of plant nutrient acquisition and recycling. Nevertheless, few studies have focused on the factors driving the diversity and functionality of fungal communities associated with these ecosystems, especially in the scope of...
Article
Full-text available
Fungi are the most abundant and one of the most diverse components of arctic soil ecosystems, where they are fundamental drivers of plant nutrient acquisition and recycling. Nevertheless, few studies have focused on the factors driving the diversity and functionality of fungal communities associated with these ecosystems, especially in the scope of...
Article
Endolithic growth within rocks is a critical adaptation of microbes living in harsh environments where exposure to extreme temperature, radiation, and desiccation limits the predominant life‐forms, such as in the ice‐free regions of Continental Antarctica. The microbial diversity of the endolithic communities in these areas has been sparsely examin...
Preprint
Full-text available
Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities are microbial ecosystems dwelling inside rocks of ice-free areas in Continental Antarctica. In Antarctica, these ecosystems were first described from the McMurdo Dry Valleys, accounted as the best analogous of the Martian environment on Earth and thought to be devoid of life until the discovery of these crypti...
Preprint
Full-text available
Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities are self-supporting borderline ecosystems spreading across the extreme conditions of the Antarctic desert and represent the most predominant life-form in the ice-free desert of McMurdo Dry Valleys, accounted as the closest terrestrial Martian analogue. Components of these communities are very adapted extremoph...
Preprint
Describing the total biodiversity of an environmental metacommunity is challenging due to the presence of cryptic and rare species and incompletely described taxonomy. How many samples to collect is a common issue faces ecologists when designing fieldwork sampling: collecting many samples may indeed capture the whole metacommunity structure, but ca...
Preprint
Full-text available
The harsh environmental conditions of the ice-free regions of Continental Antarctica are considered one of the closest Martian analogues on Earth. There, rocks play a pivotal role as substratum for life and endolithism represents a primary habitat for microorganisms when external environmental conditions become incompatible with active life on rock...
Article
Full-text available
A 30.43-Mb draft genome sequence with 10,355 predicted protein-coding genes was produced for the ascomycete fungus Exophiala mesophila strain CCFEE 6314, a black yeast isolated from Antarctic cryptoendolithic communities. The sequence will be of importance for identifying differences among extremophiles and mesophiles and cataloguing the global pop...
Article
A stress-free condition is considered for humans to be related to relaxation or happiness [...].
Article
Rock-inhabiting fungi (RIF) are adapted to thrive in oligotrophic environments and to survive under conditions of abiotic stress. Under these circumstances, they form biocoenoses with other tolerant organisms, such as lichens, or with less specific phototrophic consortia of aerial algae or cyanobacteria. RIF are phylogenetically diverse, and their...
Article
Full-text available
BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment) is an ESA/Roscosmos space exposure experiment housed within the exposure facility EXPOSE-R2 outside the Zvezda module on the International Space Station (ISS). The design of the multiuser facility supports—among others—the BIOMEX investigations into the stability and level of degradation of space-exposed biosign...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cryptoendolithic microbial communities, discovered in the extremely cold, hyper-arid McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica (Friedmann 1982), the most similar terrestrial environments to Mars surface (Wynn-Williams and Edwards 2000; Onofri et al., 2004), have been considered as a candidate in supporting the search of life in Mars exploration. In such ha...
Article
The search for life beyond Earth involves investigation into the responses of model organisms to the deleterious effects of space. In the frame of the BIOlogy and Mars Experiment, as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission EXPOSE-R2 in low Earth orbit (LEO), dried colonies of the Antarctic cryptoendolithic black fungus Cryomyces antar...
Article
Despite living organisms are not exposed to acute ionizing radiation under natural conditions, some exhibit a high radiation resistance. Understanding this phenomenon is important for assessing the impact of radiation-related accidents, occupational exposures and space missions. In this context, in this study we analyzed the effect of gamma rays on...
Article
The BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars Experiment) is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission EXPOSE-R2 in Low-Earth Orbit, devoted to exposing microorganisms for 1.5 years to space and simulated Mars conditions on the International Space Station. In preparing this mission, dried colonies of the Antarctic cryptoendolithic black fungus Cryomyces...
Article
Full-text available
Subaerial biofilms (SAB) are an important factor in weathering, biofouling, and biodeterioration of bare rocks, building materials, and solar panel surfaces. The realm of SAB is continually widened by modern materials, and the settlers on these exposed solid surfaces always include melanized, stress-tolerant microcolonial ascomycetes. After their f...
Article
Full-text available
The black fungi Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri are highly melanized and are resilient to cold, ultra-violet, ionizing radiation and other extreme conditions. These microorganisms were isolated from cryptoendolithic microbial communities in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica) and studied in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), using the EXPOSE-E fac...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic cryptoendolithic microbial communities dominate ice-free areas of continental Antarctica, among the harshest environments on Earth. The endolithic lifestyle is a remarkable adaptation to the exceptional environmental extremes of this area, which is considered the closest terrestrial example to conditions on Mars. Recent efforts have attem...
Article
Full-text available
Endolithic growth is one of the most spectacular microbial adaptations to extreme environmental constraints and the predominant life-form in the ice-free areas of Continental Antarctica. Although Antarctic endolithic microbial communities are known to host among the most resistant and extreme-adapted organisms, our knowledge on microbial diversity...
Article
Full-text available
Over 80% of the Earth’s environments are permanently or periodically exposed to temperatures below 5 °C. Cold habitats harbour a wide diversity of psychrophilic and psychrotolerant yeasts. During ecological studies of yeast communities carried out in cold ecosystem in the Italian Alps, Svalbard (Norway, Arctic region), and Portugal, 23 yeast strain...