The Arabian Gulf surrounding Qatar is a unique marine environment with high insolation and salinity. Over 2000 strains of yeasts and filamentous fungi were isolated during 4 samplings in the context of a QNRF funded NPRP project. Approximately 1200 of the isolates were yeasts and over 800 were molds. All isolates were identified by molecular barcodes based on the ribosomal DNA. In addition the yeast isolates were also identified by MALDI-TOF MS with success rates varying from 42% [1st batch] to 80% [3rd batch] due to improvement of the yeast panel in CBS MALDI-TOF MS database. Among the yeasts the carotenoid containing red yeasts were abundant together with Candida tropicalis, Debaryomyces hansenii, Clavispora lusitaniae, and Kondoa sp. Also the black yeast genera Aureobasidium and Hortaea were frequently isolated. Among the molds, the melanized genera Cladosporium with the Cl. cladosporioides complex and Alternaria section Alternata were most abundant. Note that melanized and carotenoid containing fungi were the most prevalent fungi isolated, which may relate to the local extreme environmental conditions. Seasonal differences were observed between summer and winter samplings, but also spatial divergence between plots was observed. Potential new species were found in the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Alternaria, Cladosporium [all molds], Aureobasidium [black yeasts], Pseudozyma, Rhodotorula/Rhodosprodium and Kondoa [all basidiomycetous yeasts].


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