To isolate fungal communities from coastal areas of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia and identify and classify them by molecular techniques. Samples were collected from the seaside of the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in March 2012 and stored in sterile screw cap bottles for further analysis. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of fungal isolates was done using standard techniques. Eight fungal genera including Aspergillus, Penicillium, Thielavia, Fusarium, Emericella, Cladosporium, Scytalidium and Alternaria. Most isolated fungi showed significant growth on petroleum media and were thus considered capable of biodegradation of crude oil-based substances. The fungal genera isolated from the Red Sea had 97 –100 % similarity with the related fungi recorded in the GenBank in which they were deposited. The morphological and molecular structure of these marine fungal isolates closely resembles their terrestrial counterparts in the Genbank. The capabilities of these fungal species to utilize petroleum as a source of carbon speaks to future applications in which marine fungi may be utilized in the breakdown of petroleum-based waste in an ecologically efficient manner.

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