Teaching with basal fungal lineages
Longcore, Joyce E. .
Zoosporic fungi detected and isolated from the environment—chytrid lore and more.
Zoosporic eufungi frequently are overlooked in introductory classes, yet they can attract students and excite them about microscopic organisms. When specialists in zoosporic fungi were at many colleges and universities, more students learned the lore of finding and observing zoosporic fungi. But now specialists are few and many teachers have not seen living chytrids. My goals are to point out ways to involve students in looking for zoospore-producing fungi, explain how to isolate examples into axenic culture and suggest uses for the resultant cultures. The distribution of zoosporic fungi is worldwide—from freshwater to salt water, from mountain tops to tree tops, and from the skin of amphibians to onionskin bait. Species tend to have strong seasonal and site fidelity, and once located can be found in succeeding years. A compound microscope, a dissecting microscope and three agar media (PmTG, mPmTG and dss) with added antibiotics are sufficient to isolate most saprobic, zoosporic fungi. Some species can be isolated within a week and others may take a month or more. The future of positive identification of many microscopic fungi lies in molecular methods. Students who isolate a zoosporic fungus can now go on to amplify and sequence targeted regions of DNA. Resulting sequences can be used to determine nearest matches in GenBank and may even contribute knowledge about an unknown or poorly known lineage.
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1 - University of Maine, School of Biology & Ecology, 5722 Deering Hall, Orono, ME, 04469-5722, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Cottonwood B/Snowbird Center
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 1:45 PM