Fungal spores account for a substantial portion of air particulate matter. So far, however, the abundance, diversity, sources, properties, and effects of fungi in the atmosphere have not been well characterized. Here we summarize the results of a series of studies combining DNA-sequence analyses, cultivation and freezing experiments. A one-year study in central Europe showed high species richness and pronounced differences in the relative abundance and seasonal cycles of various groups of fungi in coarse and fine particulate matter. Investigations of continental and marine air samples revealed global biogeographic patterns in the species richness of Basidiomycota and Ascomycota and new species of ice nucleation active fungi were found.

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