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Discovering the hidden diversity of fungi in Chile III

Posted on 24-03-2017 by Dr. József Geml

The final part of the GoLife team’s fieldwork took part in the Valdivian temperate rainforest ecoregion in southern Chile.

Photo: The GoLife field team in the Mocho-Choshuenco National Reserve (Photo: Reinaldo Vargas)

This ecoregion harbors various vegetation types, such as evergreen coastal laurel-leaved forest, mid-elevation forest, featuring endemic conifers (Podocarpus nubigenus and Fitzroya cuppressoides),subalpine Nothofagus forest, alpine grassland, and volcanic desert in the Andes. The team sampled a wide variety of macroalgae (red, green, and brown) in the intertidal zone, which are also being examined for endophytic fungi.

François Lutzoni and Reinaldo Vargas sampling lichens along the coast near Corral (Photo: József Geml).

While field collecting is one of the most exciting aspects of being a biologist, intensive fieldwork also involves extensive efforts in the laboratory, such as preparing vouchers for herbaria and fungaria, preparing samples for molecular work, and isolating fungi in portable laminar flow hoods to prevent contamination. Therefore, a fruitful collecting day often results in a long evening of labwork, sometimes going into the wee hours. But all these challenges and the new findings that follow are the things that make scientific work so fulfilling.

The Lewis team collecting algae in the intertidal zone near Corral, l-r: Michael Clear, Louise Lewis, Liza Terlova (Photo: József Geml)

François Lutzoni and A. Elizabeth Arnold culturing fungi in portable laminar flow hoods in a temporary lab set up in a B&B in Temuco (Photo: Louise Lewis).

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