The impact of arthropods on fungal community structure in Lascaux Cave.
Aims: To determine the major components of the fungal population present in Lascaux Cave, France. The ceiling, walls, sediments and soil were colonized by Fusarium solani in 2001 and later, in 2006, black stains appeared. However, the origin of the successive fungal invasions is unknown as well as the ecology of the cave. Methods and Results: The primers nu-SSU-0817F and nu-SSU-1536R were used for the direct amplification of fungal 18S-rDNA sequences from 11 samples. A total of 607 clones were retrieved. Eight out of the ten most abundant phylotypes corresponded to fungi associated with arthropods and represented about 50% of the clones. Conclusions: Entomophilous fungi play an important role in the cave and arthropods contribute to the dispersion of spores and fungal development. Significance and Impact of the Study: Choosing appropriate targets for control of fungal dispersal is dependent on knowing the causes of fungal colonization. A control of the arthropod populations seems to be a need in order to protect the rock art paintings in Lascaux Cave.