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Abstract Detail

The conservation biology of fungi

Mueller, Gregory M. [1].

Counting individuals and determining geographic range of macrofungi: an operational approach for assessing macrofungi under IUCN Red List guideline criteria.

The IUCN Red List criteria for assessing the conservation status of an organism require information on the geographic range of a species, size of individuals, number of individuals (population size), and degree of population fragmentation. Such data have been difficult to obtain for most groups of fungi because of the way they grow. Macrofungi produce easily observed sporocarps from “invisible” mycelia growing through substrata such as soil, wood, leaf-litter, or dung. Thus, the size of the individual and estimates on how long an individual persists cannot be determined simply by counting sporocarps. Recent phylogenetic analyses and population biology studies using molecular markers to determine the distribution of species, size of genetic individuals (genets), how long a genet persists, and gene flow among genets (i.e., population structure) are providing information useful for addressing the IUCN criteria. Most of the studies have been carried out on ectomycorrhizal species of Agaricomycotina, but a few saprotrophic taxa have also been examined. With the exception of some polypore taxa, most examined species of macrofungi show discrete distribution ranges and many “cosmopolitan” species have been shown to be species complexes. In most cases, the size of an individual genet has been shown to be small, usually less than 1 m2. Also, a high degree of annual turnover has been documented for a number of studied species. This suggests that many individuals persist for a relatively short time and that new individuals regularly become established. Most studies have shown relatively low levels of population structure over fairly large distances suggesting that population fragmentation, at least at regional scales, may not be a major issue. While much more data on the population biology of macrofungi are needed, the existing data provide a starting point for developing operational definitions for assessing the conservation status for macrofungi.

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1 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Science and Academic Programs, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA

IUCN Categories and Criteria
population genetics.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY7
Location: Ballroom 3/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: SY7002
Abstract ID:436