Field Notes: Of Fungi, Rain Forests & Birds

19 May

Blog Excerpt from The New York Botanical Garden – by Plant Talk –

Garden Scientists Explore Biodiversity in Australia, Brazil, and Colombia
As environmental pressures increasingly put biodiversity at risk, one of the Garden’s most important goals is to lead in the effort to document every plant and fungal species on Earth. Garden scientists conduct research around the globe. Here is a recent report from the field.

Roy Halling Returns to Fraser Island, Australia
In late March, Roy Halling, Ph.D., a specialist in mushrooms, continued his survey of macrofungi on Fraser Island, the largest of the world’s sand islands and a World Heritage Site off the east coast of Queensland, Australia.

There he and Nigel Fechner, a Senior Botanist at the Queensland Herbarium in Brisbane, found an undescribed genus of “false-truffle,” previously known only from Cape York, the northernmost part of Queensland.

They discovered a fungus, about the size of a golf ball, protruding from a sand bank near Lake McKenzie. Scratching with a truffle rake in the sand and litter under a gum tree (Eucalyptus signata), they unearthed more of the bright red fungus. Like the truffle of commerce, this fungus has a strong penetrating odor, one of the key factors in attracting marsupials, which eat the fungus and disperse the spores in their scat.

The real gems for Halling on this trip were finding an exquisite species of Strobilomyces and a first report from Australia of a Heimioporus japonicus. This is the second known instance of a species in that genus in Australia.


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Posted by on May 19, 2010 in Guest Bloggers


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