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Wood panels exposed for 13 to 35 months at three Pacific and Atlantic Ocean locations at depths between 1616 and 2073 m were attacked by cellulose digesting fungi. Degradation was limited to the outer layers of the wood and was identical with the “soft rot” decay caused by terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine shallow water fungi.
Two new organisms were discovered belonging to the Ascomycetes and Deuteromycetes. Growth of fruiting bodies was slow, requiring more than 1½ years for development. One additional abyssal Ascomycete was collected with deep-water driftwood from 3710 m in the Gulf of Panama. No fungi were found on panels of seven wood species exposed at a Pacific site (722 m depth) with a low dissolved oxygen content. Cellulolytic bacteria developed in this “minimum oxygen zone” and also in two other test sites. Wood deterioration by bacteria differs distinctly from that caused by fungi. Influence of microorganisms on the settlement of wood boring molluscs is discussed.
biodeterioration, wood, marine borers, Ascomycetes, Deuteromycetes, marine microorganisms, wood borers, deep sea, abyssal, benthonic, evaluation, tests, bacteria
Assistant professor, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina, Morehead City, N. C.