Anthropization Effects on the Filamentous Fungal Community of the Brazilian Catimbau National Park

<div><p>ABSTRACT The Caatinga biome features an exclusive endemic biodiversity, and is characterized by the presence of xerophytic, deciduous vegetation, high temperatures, and low rainfall. This important park has undergone anthropization, especially through extraction of firewood and timber and growing plants for raising goats. The objectives of this study were to compare the communities of filamentous fungi present in the preserved area and in the anthropized soil of the Catimbau National Park in Buíque, PE, Brazil, and to evaluate the impacts of anthropization on such communities. A total of 12 collections of soil samples were made, six in the preserved area and six in the anthropic area, and the physicochemical properties of the soil samples were analyzed. Fungi were isolated through suspension and serial dilution methods. After growth, the samples were purified and identified based on classical taxonomy, according to specific literature. The diversity, evenness, richness, dominance, frequency, and similarity among the species of filamentous fungi in both areas were assessed based on ecological indexes. A total of 4,488 colony-forming units of filamentous fungi were obtained, which were distributed into 65 species belonging to 15 genera. In the preserved area, higher abundance and richness of species were observed, with predominance of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium. In both areas, diversity and equitability were high, demonstrating that the species are well distributed in these areas. In the preserved area, the dominant genera were Aspergillus, Gongronella, and Penicillium, whereas Aspergillus was the dominant genus in the anthropic area. Two distinct communities were observed in the areas analyzed. Principal component analysis showed that Penicillium simplicissimum influences the total diversity of both communities. The anthropization that occurred in the Catimbau National Park has changed the composition of the filamentous fungal communities of the site, restricting the number of species and decreasing the abundance of these important microorganisms. This results in ecosystem damage and likely causes relevant major imbalances, with serious consequences, such as possible disappearance of the aforementioned species, as well as of species yet undiscovered by the scientific community.</p></div>