Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (9): 1068-1076.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016140

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research status and prospects of rock-inhabiting fungi

Shun Yang1, Wei Sun1, Xingzhong Liu1, Meichun Xiang1,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Online:2016-09-20 Published:2016-10-09
  • Contact: Xiang Meichun


Rock-inhabiting fungi (RIF) are peculiar organisms with high diversity that apparently lack sexual reproductive structures and form compact, melanised colonies on bare rock surfaces. These fungi are one of the most stress-tolerant eukaryotic life forms on the earth and have evolved a variety of adaptive mechanisms to occupy harsh niches. They also have special characteristics related to their cell structure, metabolism, and stress tolerance mechanisms. Although RIF are very ubiquitous, they have often been overlooked due to their small size, slow growth and lack of diagnostic features. In this review, we describe the diversity, research approaches, history, adaptive mechanism and applied research of rock-inhabiting fungi, to focus attention on RIF and their importance.

Key words: rock-inhabiting fungi, diversity, stress resistance, heritage conservation, astrobiology