Global diversity and distribution of rhizosphere and root‑associated fungi in coastal wetlands: A systematic review




Lumibao, Candice Y.
Harris, Georgia
Birnbaum, Christina


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Coastal wetlands have been long recognized for their importance to biodiversity and many biogeochemical processes including carbon sequestration; however, our understanding of plant-microbe interactions that govern many processes in these ecosystems remains elusive. Fungal communities are known to play critical roles in coastal wetlands, particularly due to their close relationships with plants, yet, systematic understanding of their distributional patterns and the factors shaping these patterns in natural coastal wetland environments has been rarely assessed. We synthesized existing published literature from fifty-one studies spanning 60 years to examine global fungal distributional patterns in coastal wetlands, draw linkages between fungi, the plant communities, and their environment, and identify gaps in fungal research and suggest future research directions. We focused on studies that reported root-associated fungi and fungi from the plant rhizosphere (i.e., soil surrounding roots) in coastal dunes, intertidal flats, salt marshes, and tidal wetlands. Our synthesis has revealed that (1) 203 fungal species were reported from salt marshes, 59 fungal species from coastal dunes, 32 from tidal wetlands, and ten from intertidal flats; (2) rhizosphere fungal communities were more species-rich and reported more often for all ecosystems except in salt marshes; and (3) nineteen different fungal guilds, which are predominantly arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We conclude that more research is needed to better understand root-associated fungal diversity in less studied ecosystems reviewed here. We have identified knowledge gaps in reported data and outlined suggestions to facilitate future plant-fungal research in these declining, but important, coastal ecosystems.



rhizosphere and endosphere fungi, synthesis, global patterns, coastal ecosystems



CC BY 4.0 DEED Attribution 4.0 International


Lumibao, C.Y., Harris, G. & Birnbaum, C. Global Diversity and Distribution of Rhizosphere and Root-Associated Fungi in Coastal Wetlands: A Systematic Review. Estuaries and Coasts 47, 905–916 (2024).