This project is aimed at documenting the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal diversity in tropical rainforests. Our study sights include the central Guiana Shield (Guyana) in South America, and the Congo basin in Cameroon in Africa. In these locations we combine surveys, collections, and taxonomic descriptions with below ground molecular-based sampling to assess ECM fungal diversity. My expertise is in systematics, alpha-taxonomy, and molecular ecology of the mushroom genus Clavulina (Basidiomycota, Cantharellales) and relatives. Below you will find images of recently described and undescribed Clavulina species and relatives that I described, sequenced, and illustrated. You can see photos from previous expeditions in the Mycologists at work page and short documentary films in the videos. This NSF funded research endeavor is led by Drs. Terry Henkel and Cathie Aime.
GUYANA STUDY SITE
In Guyana, we study ECM fungi associated with plant hosts in the following families; Caesalpinioideae, Dipterocarpaceae, Polygonaceae, Nyctaginaceae, and Gnetaceae. The primary host plant is a caesalpiniod legume, Dicymbe corymbosa. There are over 300 taxa of ECM fungi in the area based on molecular and sporocarp (mushroom) based data, a complete taxon list is available here. Our research team has worked to describe many of these species yet, they are far outnumbered by undescribed species in the region. You can find much more information about the project, fungi, collaborators, and host plants at tropicalfungi.org.
CAMEROON STUDY SITE
We are headed to the Dja Wildlife Reserve in September 2017 to conduct field work involving collections and descriptions of ECM sporocarps and root tips. Many ECM host plants related to those found in the Guiana shield region are present in Cameroon, where they host relatives of Guyanese fungi. An open research question I will address using data from this expedition is to what extent ECM fungal taxa such as Clavulina that are present in tropical South America and Africa are a result of ancient geologic formations such as the breaking up of Gondwanaland.
NEW SPECIES & RANGE DESCRIPTIONS
Clavulina kunmudlutse T.W. Henkel et Aime, sp. nov.
Clavulina nigricans T.W. Henkel et Aime
Clavulina amazonensis Corner
Clavulina sprucei (Berk.) Corner
Clavulina cerebriformis Uehling, Aime et T.W. Henkel, sp. nov.
Clavulina cinereoglebosa Uehling, Aime et T.W. Henkel, sp. nov.
Clavulina effusa Uehling, Aime et T.W. Henkel, sp. nov.
Clauvlina rosiramea Uehling, T.W. Henkel et Aime
Clavulina pakaraimensis Uehling, T.W. Henkel et Aime