Several terrestrial plant diseases and
aquatic animal (fish, frog) diseases attributed to fungal attack are actually
caused by Oomycetes. In plants they are often better known by their symptoms and referred to
as root rotting fungi, seedling dampening mold, blister rusts, white rusts,
downy mildew or late blights.
There are many identification or naming situations - where Oomycetes
get lumped into "fungi" for gross morphological reasons, much
the same way dolphins and whales were lumped together with fish. Yet the
taxonomic difference, or divergence from the last common ancestor, is
several magnitudes more extreme than that between mammals and fish. The
divergence is the order of billions rather than millions of years.
Oomycetes are like fungi. They have the same filamentous, branching,
indeterminate bodies and absorb food by excreting digestive enzymes
and absorbing the resultant soup. This can be referred to as the fungal
of life or absorptive nutrition. But ecologically and by using ultra
structural characters, the differences can be seen to be far more fundamental: