Teaching with basal fungal lineages
White, Merlin .
Trichomycetes - habitat, isolation and culture.
Hidden in the digestive tracts of certain insects and other arthropods is a diverse assemblage of symbiotic microorganisms commonly known as “gut fungi”. Traditionally in the Class Trichomycetes (see online monograph and interactive keys for identification at www.nhm.ku.edu/fungi/, maintained by R.W. Lichtwardt) these endosymbionts (both fungi and fungal-like organisms) are recognized to be a polyphyletic assemblage. The currently accepted practice is to refer to them as an ecological group with the lower case form of “trichomycetes”. Revision of the group is awaiting ongoing molecular systematic studies. Nonetheless, as en ecological group, these endosymbionts are as close to the teaching/research lab as an aquatic net or improvised collecting gear and a little practice (for online video tutorials see the author’s laboratory webpage: www.boisestate.edu/biology/Mycology/dissectgut.htm). Potential aquatic hosts (lotic and lentic) include immature, non-predaceous species such as Ephemeroptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and isopods. Mosquito larvae, in standing water of all types, are excellent hosts of gut fungi. Some of these fungi (approx. 15%) are culturable, with the most success with fungi isolated from lower Diptera (Chironomidae and Culicidae) and some Plecoptera (stoneflies). Isolation media is not unlike with other fungi in terms of plate preparation, simply with the addition of a sterile water overlay to mimic the moist environs of the hosts. The objective of this session is to share with you the not-so-secret or -difficult procedure of isolating gut fungi from arthropods with the hope that you will be able to isolate your own axenic cultures and share the methodology with students and colleagues alike. This could be an excellent means to teach about symbiosis, entomology, mycology, stream ecology, ecosytems, micro- and sterile techniques, all as an interwoven experience; and such cultures would also be significant contributions to ongoing research programs! (Website review in advance helpful, but not required).
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Web Tutorials Relating to Finding Gut Fungi
1 - Boise State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 1910 University Drive, Boise, Idaho, 83725-1515
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Cottonwood B/Snowbird Center
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Time: 4:45 PM