The Great Basin area in the Western United States has no natural river drainage. As a result of the water evaporation in the valleys, the soils are high in salts. In some valley regions the high salt content of the soil (5%) limits plant growth to a few halophytic plants. Desert conditions exist during much of the growing season and when the rains come shallow saline pools form in depressed areas. In a salt playa near Goshen, Utah, fungi were isolated from four zones; the bottom of the salt playa, the zone where Salicornia grows, the salt grass Distichlis zone, and the least saline tall grass area. Fungal cultures were obtained and were evaluated for their salt tolerance. The salinity of the soil in the zones ranged from 2% to 15%. Most of the fungi isolated were Aspergillus species although Penicillium was also common. Of the 22 fungal isolates,15 isolates were able to grow on PDA with 16% to 22% NaCl. The spores of these 15 fungal isolates were able to germinate in 20% NaCl. All of the fungal isolates grew well on PDA that had 30% glucose and no salt.

Key words: Great Basin, halophytic fungi, salt playa