Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hartley Wood Research: Initial Findings

I have now spent the better part of two weeks looking through the research database.  As a whole, it includes 612 collected specimens encompassing the phyla of Ascomycota (17%), Basidiomycota (78%), and Myxomycota (5%).  There were 130 genera and 199 species identified, not taking into account any repeats  or  unknown specimens found within the collection.  DNA has been extracted from voucher material with nearly 78% confirmed through gel electrophoresis.  The next step will be presenting the findings to my adviser and determining what extracted DNA to sequence.  My hunch is that all of the identified species will be sequenced and submitted into GenBank.  This should include species found within my sampling plots and those found randomly within the research site.  Once their identification has been confirmed using the ITS region of the DNA, a more confident approach can be made toward describing the species richness within the site.  Average temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity at the site during this two year study was examined with no obvious conclusion as to its impacts on the fruiting frequency of observed fungi.  This came as no surprise because most mycologists understand the ephemeral nature of the fruiting bodies and this study was based on collection/documentation of those fruiting structures.  More sorting and sifting through the database should disclose interesting associations among the specimens within the collection.  I will be sure to keep you all up to date on these findings as they become available.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!


  1. Do proximity to the trails and/or open edges of the wood make any difference in variety or specie type?

  2. I am unaware of the influence these variables may have on the fruiting capacity of fungi. Good question, but it would be very difficult for me to speculate impacts of the trails or woodlot margins on the ability for a fungus to produce fruiting bodies.