FungalTraits: a user-friendly traits database of fungi and fungus-like stramenopiles

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Abstract

The cryptic lifestyle of most fungi necessitates molecular identification of the guild in environmental studies. Over the past decades, rapid development and affordability of molecular tools have tremendously improved insights of the fungal diversity in all ecosystems and habitats. Yet, in spite of the progress of molecular methods, knowledge about functional properties of the fungal taxa is vague and interpretation of environmental studies in an ecologically meaningful manner remains challenging. In order to facilitate functional assignments and ecological interpretation of environmental studies we introduce a user friendly traits and character database FungalTraits operating at genus and species hypothesis levels. Combining the information from previous efforts such as FUNGuild and FunFun together with involvement of expert knowledge, we reannotated 10,210 and 151 fungal and Stramenopila genera, respectively. This resulted in a stand-alone spreadsheet dataset covering 17 lifestyle related traits of fungal and Stramenopila genera, designed for rapid functional assignments of environmental studies. In order to assign the trait states to fungal species hypotheses, the scientific community of experts manually categorised and assigned available trait information to 697,413 fungal ITS sequences. On the basis of those sequences we were able to summarise trait and host information into 92,623 fungal species hypotheses at 1% dissimilarity threshold.

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Põlme, S., Abarenkov, K., Henrik Nilsson, R., Lindahl, B. D., Clemmensen, K. E., Kauserud, H., … Tedersoo, L. (2020). FungalTraits: a user-friendly traits database of fungi and fungus-like stramenopiles. Fungal Diversity, 105(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13225-020-00466-2

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