Joel A. Jurgens

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The McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica are a cold hyperarid polar desert that present extreme challenges to life. Here, we report a culture-independent survey of multidomain microbial biodiversity in McKelvey Valley, a pristine example of the coldest desert on Earth. We demonstrate that life has adapted to form highly-specialized communities in distinct(More)
Wood is a major pool of organic carbon that is highly resistant to decay, owing largely to the presence of lignin. The only organisms capable of substantial lignin decay are white rot fungi in the Agaricomycetes, which also contains non-lignin-degrading brown rot and ectomycorrhizal species. Comparative analyses of 31 fungal genomes (12 generated for this(More)
Microorganisms play a dominant role in Antarctic ecosystems, yet little is known about how fungal diversity differs at sites with considerable human activity as compared to those that are remote and relatively pristine. Ross Island, Antarctica is the site of three historic expedition huts left by early explorers to the South Pole, Robert F. Scott and Ernest(More)
Three expedition huts in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, built between 1901 and 1911 by Robert F. Scott and Ernest Shackleton, sheltered and stored the supplies for up to 48 men for 3 years during their explorations and scientific investigation in the South Pole region. The huts, built with wood taken to Antarctica by the early explorers, have(More)
Early explorers of Antarctica's Heroic Era erected wooden buildings and brought large quantities of supplies to survive in Antarctica. The introduction of wood and other organic materials provided nutrient sources for fungi that were indigenous to Antarctica or were brought in with the materials and adapted to the harsh conditions. Seventy-two isolates of(More)
To survive in Antarctica, early explorers of Antarctica’s Heroic Age erected wooden buildings and brought in large quantities of supplies. The introduction of wood and other organic materials may have provided new nutrient sources for fungi that were indigenous to Antarctica or were brought in with the materials. From 30 samples taken from Discovery Hut,(More)
Throughout the history of polar exploration and up to recent times, wood and other exotic materials have been brought to the Antarctic continent and left there. While the possible transportation of exotic fungal species on these materials is sometimes considered, the effects of these exotic substrates on indigenous fungal communities have not been(More)
Scientists working at New Harbor, Antarctica in November 1959 used a wooden crate as a makeshift workspace and kitchen. The structure has been used intermittently over the subsequent decades and still remains at the site with various materials left in and around it. The wooden structure was assessed for deterioration and samples collected to determine the(More)
The historic expedition huts located in the Ross Sea Region of the Antarctic and the thousands of artifacts left behind by the early explorers represent important cultural heritage from the “Heroic Era” of Polar exploration. The hut at Cape Royds built by Ernest Shackleton and members of the 1907–1908 British Antarctic Expedition has survived the extreme(More)
This review summarizes research concerning Antarctic fungi at the century-old historic huts of the Heroic Period of exploration in the Ross Dependency 1898–1917 and fungi in pristine terrestrial locations. The motivation of the research was initially to identify potential fungal causes of degradation of the historic huts and artifacts. The research was(More)