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Doyle's Delight Expedition 2007

Expedition to the Belize's Highest Point - Mycology

Dr. Timothy J. Baroni – State University of New York, College at Cortland
Dr. D. Jean Lodge, USDA-Forest Service, Puerto Rico
Dr. M. Catherine Aime, Louisiana State University

Timothy J. Baroni D. Jean Lodge M. Catherine Aime

Preliminary report of the mycological findings on Doyle’s Delight expedition, 18-30 August 2007.

Preface: The estimates provided here were developed solely from field note books. The actual specimens are still in Belize awaiting the clearance of permits and transport back to our respective institutions for detailed study and confirmation of field identifications using light microscopy and other techniques. A one day delay in transport from Doyle’s Delight via helicopter back to the Tropical Education Center due to sever weather conditions and then the subsequent approach of a second hurricane to the Belize vicinity, disrupted our well devised plans for finishing the permitting process. Therefore the transport of the collections back to our respective institutions for examination had to be delayed until the first weeks of October, until one of us (DJL) could make a return flight/visit back to Belize to finish the extraction process.

General observations: The weather on this 2007 expedition was more conducive for the fruiting of fungi as compared to the 2004 expedition. We were able to locate and prepare more specimens on this trip, which also yielded a greater diversity of species as well, certainly many more species than we encountered in 2004. We also were fortunate to have a rust (Pucciniomycotina) specialist join us on this excursion (MCA) and we therefore were able to provide a first ever survey of these fungi for this part of the Maya Mts.

Summary of preliminary results:

A. What we found. Four hundred and fifty-five (455) collections of fleshy fungi (Ascomyetes & Basidiomycetes), rusts, lichens and slime molds were obtained and documented with digital photographs, field notes and in some cases tissue samples for later DNA extraction and molecular systematic investigations. We believe these collections represent approximately 188 genera and 402 species, but these conclusions must be confirmed by studying the voucher collections. Because each mycologist individually collected and documented as many samples as possible each day, there is some duplication in collecting and in some instances we have documented the same species more than once. That overlap appears to be about 10%, thus our preliminary count for genera and species may eventually be reduced by that amount, i.e., to between 350-370 species and 160-170 genera.

B. Our best guess as to what the significant findings will be.
1. We believe we may have discovered at least 12 new species on this trip, and that number could easily be higher.
2. We are fairly confident that we have collected at least 10 species of rusts that will be first reports of these plant pathogens for Belize. We have documented the first record of the order Helicobasidiales in Belize, including pathogens important in Biocontrol.
3. We also believe that we have documented at least 15 species of fleshy fungi that are clearly new reports for Belize.

Unidentified sp.
Mycena sp.
Armillaria tabescens, a tree pathogen
Coprinus disseminatus

 

Sharon Matola with mushroom named after her: Arthromyces matolae

The authors acknowledge National Geographic Society contributing support to the
expedition.

Pictures: Sharon Matola.

 

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