Additional External Researchers:
Todd Osmundson, Maria Alice Neves
Locations: United States of America
New York City
The Boletaceae (Fungi: Basidiomycetes) is a large family (ca. 25 genera) of putrescent mushrooms with pores. Members of this well-recognized family form the largest, critical fungal component of obligate, symbiotic mycorrhizal communities throughout the temperate and tropical forest ecosystems of the world. They are intimately involved with basic ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, nutrient uptake, and decomposition of organic matter. Some boletes have been documented as rearing sites and food sources for insects. Other boletes are highly prized by people as food (e.g., Boletus edulis, known also as Porcini or Cèpe). Although conspicuous and widely recognized for their ecological and economic importance, no major genus of boletes (i.e., a genus with more than five species) has ever been systematically revised on a large scale. The work outlined in this proposal will provide systematic revisions for the genera Boletellus, Heimiella, Phylloporus, and Tylopilus. Modern information technology will be used in data capture, analysis, and electronic dissemination of the results of these revisions. The timing is right for this project. The PI at the New York Botanical Garden has acquired a global perspective on the genera from nearly 30 years of field observations in both temperate and tropical forests. Further, he is currently the academic mentor for two fully funded Ph.D. candidates whose academic institutions are affiliated with the NYBG. The students will work with two of the genera (Phylloporus, Tylopilus) for their dissertations. The PI will work with the other genera. The revisions will encompass both traditional systematic methods as well as molecular systematics. These methods will aid in testing hypotheses of monophyly. The molecular component will be aided via input from the fungal molecular laboratory at Clark University which has outstanding molecular phylogenetic facilities and genomic libraries for the boletes. The use of this facility will help place the species in their phylogenetic context. Thus, this proposal will provide systematic revisions of species in four genera and estimates of their phylogenetic relationships, in the context of newly generated and existing nuc-lsu rDNA data. Since
we will also begin assembling an ITS database, the proposed research will provide resources for other fungal biologists (sequences to be deposited in GenBank) and will promote the discovery and detection of new species of Boletaceae. Also, two students will receive training that will allow them to pursue future revisionary systematic studies.
Field work is planned to gather additional material from Australia and Thailand, areas predicted to have high diversity in these genera based on prior field observations by the PI and via input from reliable collaborators. The field work in these under collected areas will add to the database of known boletes and will provide baseline data for future projects to be initiated by other collaborators. Also, workshops are planned while in the field that will enhance any future studies by local students/mycologists. Publication of the resulting specimen database and an on-line interactive identification system should make further studies of boletes sustainable by in-country specialists. In addition to technical publications, a web site dedicated to Boletaceae will be developed that will provide a synthesis of the phylogeny, biodiversity, and ecology of the group, as well as images, literature guides, and other resources for researchers and educators.
Cross Cutting Themes:
The New York Botanical Gardens
National Science Foundation