The Desired Environment

  A. fumigatus, Courtesy of Dr. Volk

Aspergillus fumigatus spores are ubiquitous. However, on a large scale, some sources count the organism is more likely to be found in the northern hemisphere during the fall and winter months or in the tropics all year round. Specifically, soil and soil components make up the natural habitat. Other places include in stored grain, decaying vegetation, or indoor air environments. Besides these areas, some are parasitic symbionts in plants or animals.




Microsoft Clip Art

The species fits well in a soil niche since its fungal nature allows it to have nutrients and moisture without need for the sun. This ecological habitat provides required nutrients and moisture for all of the different stages in the life cycle, shown more in detail in the nutrition and reproduction sections. These nutrients can come from other organisms, such as plants, bacteria, other fungi, and other organisms. Another key factor in maintaining a soil habitat is the presence of disruptions on the soil surface which can cause spore distribution. Also, distribution can be caused by the flow of soil water, making this location prime.


Microsoft Clip Art

Other niches fit the fungus well too. Even though it can be affected by water amounts, pH, temperature, and gas composition, Aspergillus fumigatus is most commonly found in areas with high temperatures (40 degrees Celsius or higher), high levels of oxygen, and places with reduced water availability. Unfortunately, this makes warm blooded animals (i.e. humans) susceptible to parasitism due to high body temperatures. Please see disease for more information about the human niche. Also, outside of parasitism, A. fumigatus comprises 70% of the fungus population in the heated decomposition of compost (Raper et al. 1965). Since this goes on in most wildlife settings, the habitat ubiquity can be described.


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