Mycological Research

A new fungal phylum, the Glomeromycota: phylogeny and evolution 1

Arthur  SCHÜßLER  a1 c1, Daniel  SCHWARZOTT  a1 and Christopher  WALKER  a2
a1 Institut für Botanik, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstrasse 10, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany
a2 Biological Research and Imaging Laboratory, 2 Penny Hedge, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 7TB, UK


The ecologically and economically important arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, crucial in the ecology and physiology of land plants, and the endocytobiotic fungus, Geosiphon pyriformis, are phylogenetically analysed by their small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequences. They can, from molecular, morphological and ecological characteristics, unequivocally be separated from all other major fungal groups in a monophyletic clade. Consequently they are removed from the polyphyletic Zygomycota, and placed into a new monophyletic phylum, the Glomeromycota.

The recognition of this monophyletic group, which probably diverged from the same common ancestor as the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, gives these fungi their proper status, and provides a basis for a new and natural systematics of these fascinating, yet largely hidden organisms, with three new orders (Archaeosporales, Paraglomerales, Diversisporales) described herein. Additionally, several clades resolve at family level; their formal description is in progress.

(Received May 10 2001)
(Accepted September 10 2001)

c1 Corresponding author. E-mail:


1 Dedicated to Manfred Kluge (Technische Universität Darmstadt) on the occasion of his retirement.