Where do you find Rhizophydiales?

Members of Rhizophydiales occur world-wide in aquatic systems primarily as parasites of algae and on a rage of organisms including invertebrates and other chytrids. They may have a role in the natural control of algal populations and a transformational role in aquatic food webs as parasites of planktonic desmids and diatoms. They are also common in soil, primarily as saprobes of pollen. They are especially common in soils under and around moss. The highly destructive parasite of frogs, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, evolved within this clade.

In terrestrial habitats, members of Rhizophydiales are common saprobes of pollen grains, but are more rare on keratin, chitin, and cellulose substrata. Members of Rhizophydiales have been recovered from acid bogs, nitrogen-deficient soils, submersed mud from an oligotrophic lake (Letcher et al. 2008a), and tree canopy detritus.

How do you collect them?

Hosts, including algae, can be observed infected with chytrids when brought into the laboratory and examined with light microscopy. Often times leaving an algal sample in the laboratory for two to three days will increase the amount of infection. To collect saprotrophic members, a sample of water with vegetative debris or soil sample submerged in water is incubated in a petri dish with pollen, chitin, or keratin. After about two to three days, thalli can be observed on the substrates with a light microscope.

To learn more about collecting chytrids click here.

How do you culture them?

Because these fungi do not produce hyphae that radiate as they grow, techniques for culturing hyphal fungi do not work with chytrids. One can take advantage of their production of motile spores to isolate them on media that contains antibiotics.

To learn more about culturing chytrids click here.

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