Dry Season Macrofungi of the Monteverde Reserve Sara Williams Department of Biology, Vanderbilt University _______________________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT Fungi make up a great portion of the biodiversity of the planet, yet they remain poorly described and sorely understudied. Generally, fungi field guides are only available at the country level. A database for the macro fungi of the Monteverde Reserve was started in the fall of 2005, creating an identification guide at t he local level. The aim of this study was to add samples to the database, expanding particularly to include fungi specimens of the dry season. The main goal of establishing a macro fungi database of the area is to induce and facilitate additional fungi rese arch. RESUMEN Los hongos constituyen una gran porciÃ³n de la biodiversidad del planeta y, sin embargo, estÃ¡n muy pobremente descritos y estudiados. En general, las guÃas de campo sobre hongos que estÃ¡n disponibles se limitan al nivel de paÃs. Un banco de datos para los macrohongos de la Reserva Monteverde fue empezado en la estaciÃ³n lluviosa del 2005, creando una guÃa de identificaciÃ³n al nivel local. El objetivo principal de este estudio fue aÃ±adir muestras al banco de datos, extendiÃ©ndolo en particular para incluir especÃmenes de los hongos de la estaciÃ³n seca. La meta principal al establecer un banco de datos de los macrohongos del Ã¡rea fue inducir y facilitar investigaciones adicionales de los hongos. INTRODUCTION Biologists predict that the Kingdom Fungi is one of the most species rich taxa, having an estimated 1.5 million species worldwide Hawksworth 1991. However, only 100,000 of these species are described in total. A mere 2,000 have been identified in Costa Rica where there is an expected 40,0 00 70,000 species present in the country Arora 1986. It is apparent that fungi have been severely understudied even though they are crucial to many ecosystems. Their most important role is the job of decaying organic material to recycle nutrients and bio mass back into the ecosystem from dead organisms Mata 2003. This work is especially essential in tropical forests where a huge amount of the worldÂ€s overall biomass is stored. Fungi perform other valuable functions that serve humans and varying biologica l communities, such as their use in food productions, medicinal compounds and in creating symbiotic relationships with plants through mycorrhizae Alexopoulos 1996. Fungi are becoming increasingly practical for use in laboratory settings of biological an d biomedical research. They are now being recognized as efficient model systems for hypothesis testing Alexopoulos 1996. However, before it is possible to broadly use fungi as model systems or to conduct further research on their roles in ecosystems and communities, the fundamental preliminary step of identification must take place. This initial phase would then foster further exploration. Research opportunities might be being
thwarted due to the amount of undescribed species. An obvious goal for mycologi sts must be to learn and identify the organisms present in an area, paving the way for more in depth and informative studies. A project with this purpose was undertaken in the Monteverde Reserve beginning in the fall of 2005. Corey Rogers began the creatio n of a database that identifies and describes species of macrofungi that can be found in the Monteverde Cloud Forest during the wet season. The objective of the database was to provide an extensive field guide and information source that would allow an obse rver to visit the reserve and easily identify samples. The directory would expectantly facilitate an increased number of studies on macrofungi in the area and trigger a general increase of interest Rogers 2005. The aim of this study was to continue the building of the Monteverde macrofungi database. Specifically, this entailed the collecting, identifying, and compiling of fungi samples that were present during the dry season and adding this information to the existing database. The expected outcome of th is project was to find a less diverse and abundant yet considerably different macrofungi population than the one found by Rogers during the wet season of 2005. MATERIALS AND METHODS Aspects of study site, collection, identification and compilation of inf ormation compilation were performed as similarly as possible to the standards set by Rogers in the fall of 2005 in order to maintain consistency throughout the expansion of the Monteverde macrofungi database. A few formatting and organizational improvement s were made to the Specimen Data Sheet and the species information slide format. Additions to the database were installed according to the previous organizational pattern. Detailed directions for how to use the database can be found in Rogers 2005. Stu dy Site Sampling took place in the Monteverde Reserve in the forested area along the trails near the EstaciÃ³n BiolÃ³gica Monteverde. Collection Methods Samples were found by visual search while walking the trails of the biological station. Digital photog raphs of the sample were taken before any disturbance to the fungus or substrate was incurred once spotted. Measurements of the habitat were made using an altimeter, a spherical densitometer, an Easy View 30 light meter and a Kestrel 3000 humidity meter. T he specimen data sheet was completed as much as possible at the site. This included taking information on basic form, color and pileal, hymeneal, marginal and stipal characteristics, using a hand lens and calipers. Terminology used to describe the fungi wa s taken from MataÂ€s Macrohongos de Costa Rica , volume 1 Appendix B. Primary identification was attempted using existing fungi guides. Photographs were sent to Dr. Milagro Mata at INBio via e mail for expert assistance if identification was not possible u sing fungi guides.
The fungus sample was then collected, wrapped in wax paper and transported in a bowl, open bag or basket. A sample of the substrate was also taken with the fungus whenever possible. Multiple specimens were collected each day and taken b ack to the lab for additional photographing and measuring. Photographs were taken with an Olympus C7070WZ camera. Detailed images of surfaces were taken using a dissecting microscope, camera adapter and the same Olympus camera. Spore prints were attempted when possible by cutting off the cap of a mushroom, placing its fertile surface down on white paper and covering it with an upside down bowl for at least one night. All necessary information was initially recorded on specimen data sheets the same day as th e specimen was collected. Photographs were organized with a folder for each sample. Database Expansion Data were later entered into a Power Point presentation. A basic master format was used in which two slides were made for each sample and included all information from the data sheet as well as the best pictures taken of the fungi. The slides for each sample were added to the existing database, following the determined organizational method by Rogers; for step by step instructions on how to use the data base, see Rogers 2005. A separate collection of the specimens obtained only during this dry season was also maintained in the form of a single Power Point presentation, distinct from the macrofungi database. RESULTS A total of 36 specimens were collect ed between April 15 th and May 6 th 2006. Each fungus was identified to genus or species level and entered into the database. Overall, a high diversity and amount of fungi was found. A similar number of samples were located during this study 36, as were fo und during the wet season of 2005 30. More fungi were present on days of especially high humidity or during periods of rain, yet location close to a continual body of water did not seem to have an impact on fungi presence. Proximity to decaying wood was a trend, as 30 out of 36 83% of the specimens were found directly on a rotting tree, log or cut piece of wood. Another observed trend was the high proportion of bracket/shelf fungi. Thirteen out of 36 36% specimens were considered bracket/shelf fungi during the dry season, while only 6 out of 30 20% specimens of bracket/shelf fungi were found during the wet season of 2005. DISCUSSION It was originally thought that the dry season would yield a lower amount of fungal diversity and abundance. This was not the case. Fungi specimens were plentiful throughout the period of this study and a wide variety of species were found. It was obvious that after the first rains of the wet season during the second week of May after the span of this study an explosio n of fungal abundance occurred, even though it seemed apparent that the dry season did not create a lack of macrofungi. Bracket/shelf fungi Polyporaceae became more abundant during the dry season as compared to the wet season, and made up a higher propor tion of the fungi specimens found. This could be
explained by the biological cycle of bracket/shelf fungi. These fungi tend to fruit during the wet season, but produce fruiting bodies that are extremely hard. The fruiting body then dries out and persists i nstead of decaying like many soft mushrooms do Arora 1986. Proximity to a constant body of water was also thought to be an important factor determining where fungi specimens would be found during the dry season. This association did not appear to be sign ificant. It is possible that while water is necessary for the germination of fungal spores, a brief occurrence of rain and the subsequent humid period is sufficient to allow fungi growth during the dry season Lincoff 1989. Nearness to wood was found to be an important factor for fungal development. This is could be because of the large number of Polyporaceae specimens, which is the chief group of wood decaying fungi Arora 1986. Also, decaying organic matter is a major source of nutrients for many type s of fungi, which would explain the necessity of having wood nearby Mata 2003. Macrofungi are an essential part to any ecosystem. The Monteverde cloud forest is home to many species, encompassing a great diversity of fungal groups. As of now, fungal kn owledge is incomplete, at world wide, regional and local levels. Directories of described fungi at each of these levels would greatly facilitate further ecological and general biological research. The substantial beginnings of a macrofungi database have no w been created, but two separate month long periods are insufficient to make a thorough search of the cloud forest in the Monteverde Reserve. It is critical for the macrofungi database to be expanded by additional collection and identification projects. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First of all, I would like to thank Javier MÃ©ndez for all his help, and for allowing letting down his guard and letting me attempt this project. The work completed by Corey Rogers during the fall of 2005 is immeasurable, and without the great system he created, this database would not be possible. Dr. Milagro Mata was an essential aid in the identifying process. I would also like to thank Alan and Karen Masters for all the help they gave on a daily basis. Maria Jost and Ollie Hymen also provided indispensable assistance for help with all the little things that add up to so much. _____________________________________________________________ LITERATURE CITED ALEXOPOULOS, C.J. et al. 1996. Introductory Mycology ; 4th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Toronto, Canada: 1 22. ARORA, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi . Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California: 1 898. HAWKSWORTH, D.L. 1991. The Fungal Dimension of Biodiversity: Magnitude, Significance, and Conservat ions. Mycol. Res . 95:641 655. LINCOFF, G. H. 1989. Simon & SchusterÂ€s Guide to Mushrooms . Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York: 58 501. MATA, M. 1999. Macrohongos de Costa Rica ; vol. 1. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica: 11 235. MATA, M. 2003. Macroh ongos de Costa Rica ; vol. 2. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica: 36 215. ROGERS, C. 2005. Database of the Macrofungi of the Monteverde Reserve. Fall 2005. CIEE Tropical Biology Program: 1 11.
__________________________ ________________________________________ FIGURE 1. Map of study suite: Monteverde Reserve and EBM trails. Colored diamonds correspond to site where samples were taken. Monteverde, Costa Rica, April 15 Â May 6, 2006. _______ ____________________________________________________________ Xylaria hypoxylon: Coprinus disseminatus Hydnopolyporus palmatus Trichaptum sp. Polyporus grammocephalus: Lactarius indigo Specimen 16 Pluteus cervinus Ischinoderma resinosum; Steccherinum ochraceum Hymenochaete luteo badia Xylaria sp .; Megacollybia sp . Russula sp. Xylaria polymorpha; Gymnopilus sp.; Xylaria sp.; Mycena sp.; Coprinus sp. Russula sp.; Coriolopsis sp. Armillaria pulgarin Paxillus involutus Trichaptum sector Specimen 32; Hydnopolyporus palmatus; Specimen 34; Specimen 35 Amanita sp.; Mycena sp.; Hydnochaete peroxydatum Clavulinopsis aurantio cinnabarina; Trametes sp. Bjerkandera adusta
Lactarius indigo " Family: Russulaceae " Collection Date: 26 Apr 2006 " Collection Time: 2:09 pm " Weather conditions: cloudy, about to storm " Microhabitat Conditions of Collection Site: Type of substrate: soil Relative humidity: 89% Light availability: 114.5 lux Canopy cover %: 90.64 Elevation: 1535 m Abundance: low Observed growth habit: scattered SW 20 " Morphological Characteristics of collected samples: Basic form: mushroom Color of mature sample: mottled blue and cream, darker blue towards margin with some concentric circles Color of context: cream center turning blue towards edge, dark blue at margin Pileal characteristics: " Shape: depressed, infundibuliform " Diameter: 7.55 cm " Surface texture: smooth Margin characteristics: " Shape: involute, uplifted " Texture: eroded Hymenium characteristics: " Color: light blue with yellow at edges of gills " Texture: gills " Type of juncture with stipe: subdecurrent " Space between gills: close " Presence of lamellulae: yes Stipe characteristics: " Shape: clavate " Size: 4.3 cm long x 1.45 cm wide " Color: mottled blue and cream " Position: central, curved SW _____________________________________________________________________ FIGURE 2: Example of Power Point slides for one specime n. Each specimen in the database has a set of slides similar to these. These are the actual slides of Lactarius indigo . Monteverde, Costa Rica, April 15 Â May 6, 2006.__________________________
APPENDIX A: Specimen Data Sheet Sample #: Date: Weather: Morphological characteristics: Basic form: Color of sample: Color of context: Pileal characteristics: Shape: Diameter: Surface texture: Length and width if no stipe: Marginal characteristics: Shape from longitudinal section: Texture: Hymeneal characteristics: Color: Texture: Type of juncture with stipe for those with lamellae: Space between lamellae: Presence of lamellulae: Stipe characteristics: Length and diameter: Position: Shape: Color: Annulus characteristics: Location: Color: Volva characteristics: Shape: Color: Texture: Color of spore print: Color of bruising: Microhabitat conditions: Type of substrate: Relative humidity: Light availability lux: Canopy coverage %: Abundance: Observed growth habit: Notes:
APPENIX B: Key terminology used in describing fungal samples taken from Mata 1999. Pileal Characteristics: Marginal Characteristics: Hymeneal Characteristics: Stipal Charact eristics: