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Marieka Gryzenhout - Algae, Protists & Fungi Plenary

Marieka Gryzenhout - Algae, Protists & Fungi Plenary






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    Marieka Gryzenhout - Algae, Protists & Fungi Plenary Marieka Gryzenhout - Algae, Protists & Fungi Plenary Presentation Transcript

    • Mycology in Africa
      • Unique biomes and wildlife
        • Countless UNESCO world heritage sites
      • Incredibly diverse
        • 8 biodiversity hotspots
      • Mostly third world with large and growing human populations that threatens and puts great strain on the environment
      • Crops are threatened by plant pathogens, and humans and live stocks by several microbes
      St Lucia World Heritage Site, South Africa (Gryzenhout, Roets & De Villiers, 2010)
    • Mycology in Africa
      • Millions of species of fungi estimated to exist
        • Metagenetics reveal even more
      • How many occur in Africa?
        • Proper inventories and checklists are not existing, although some countries have some information
        • In South Africa alone, a survey based on the number of plants, with a certain number of fungi assigned to each species, estimated c. 200 000 species in South Africa alone (Crous et al. 2006)
          • Only 4% has names (Crous et al. 2006)
      • Who is working with them?
        • Very few mycologists
          • In South Africa c. 20 mycologists who like systematics but mostly have other responsibilities
      (Abdel-Azeem, 2010; Gryzenhout et al., 2010; Ngala & Gryzenhout, 2010)
    • Why is it important to look at the fungi?
      • Incredibly numerous
      • Foundation of any ecosystem
      • Contributes to health of plants and animals
      • Symbionts and other close assocations
      • Impact hugely on the lives of humans (plant pathogens, human pathogens, animal pathogens, mycotoxins, food spoilage, industrial aplications, industrial and commercial problems, useful by-products…)
      • Could be useful ecological indicators
      • They are endangered too and deserve protection, yet underrepresented in the larger biological community and government circles
      Minter (2010)
    • Ecological threats to fungi in Africa (Gryzenhout et al., 2010; Ngala & Gryzenhout , 2010; Nourou, 2011)
      • Diversity and functionality understudied, impact of human activities unknown and need of conservation ignored
      • Encroachment, fragmentation, poor land management, alteration, degradation and transformation – fungi not included
      • Invasive microbes
      • Indiscriminate spraying of especially non-selective fungicides by farmers, especially subsistence farmers
      • Illegal trading and overharvesting of edible mushrooms ( Terfezia, Cantharellus and Boletus )
      • Loss of habitat due to deforestation:
        • Especially slash and burn for agricultural land,
        • Use of trees for firewood and charcoal, timber, tourist ornaments
        • Overgrazing
        • Medicinal plant collection practices (role of pathogens)
        • Reforestation with exotic tree species
      • Climate change
    • Practical threats to fungi in Africa
      • Threat to indigenous knowledge
      • Perceptions and mycophobia
      • Poverty
      • Land use issues
      • More scientific input by mycologists in political issues
      • Lack of interest and ignorance in government, conservation and public circles
      • Lack of collaborations and little communication of work to others
      • Political changes and inner politics of the scientific community
      (Gryzenhout et al., 2010; Ngala & Gryzenhout , 2010; Nourou, 2011)
    • Practical threats to fungi in Africa
      • Legislation and permitting, often coupled with corruption
      • Still compiling basic checklists of fungi and have huge numbers of undescribed species – lack of capacity
      • Funding for collections and herbaria
      • Funding from government for private collections lacking
      • Funding for basic mycology scarce
      • Infrastructure, centres of excellence and training lacking
      • Brain drain
      (Gryzenhout et al., 2010; Ngala & Gryzenhout , 2010; Nourou, 2011; MycoAfrica 2010, 2011)
    • Needs and resources
      • Financial
      • Infrastructure
      • Guidance and support
      • Training
      • Assistance with identification
      • Better sampling, encompassing checklists
      • Opportunity
      • Filling the fungal gaps
      • Engagement and meeting others
    • Capacity Mycology in Africa: what is needed
      • Collection trips
      • Processing, preserving and identification
      Capacity Mycology in Africa: what is needed
    • But what is unique, what is exciting
      • Clean slate
      • Untapped and unique
      • biodiversity to be explored
      • Untapped and unique applications, various technologies
      • Unique indigenous knowledge
      • Incredibly talented, diverse and passionate people doing much with little, often at an international level
      • Global connections and assistance
      • Emerging good will in country
      • constitutions towards biological research
      • Fungal conservation
        • No fungi are on red lists of any country
    • Creating awareness
      • Ethnomycology
      • SaFungi ( www.SaFungi.org ) – amateur mycology
      • African Mycological Association ( www.africanmycology.org ) – professional and amateur
      • African Workgroup for Fungal Conservation, affiliated to International Society for
      • Fungal Conservation
      • And other initiatives
    • The possible way forward
      • How can we deal with so many fungi, so few mycologists, so many pressures and so few resources?
      • How can we get message across to government, conservationists, biodiversity officials and the public that we need to work with these fungi?
      • How to promote sustainable projects and stimulate mycological research?
    • A common goal to enthuse and unite
      • Explore and document biodiversity in a systematic, targeted way
      • High quality data
      • Boost collections and checklists
      • Explore potential uses of fungi
      • Applications in fields impacting on humans, i.e. plant pathology, mycotoxins, industrial mycology
      • New technologies to do large scale ecological studies using metagenetics
      Establishing networks or consortia and producing focused research
    • How BARCODE OF LIFE can help
      • Pipelines
      • Data management
      • Identification of gaps
      • Assistance, training and expertise, including understanding of legislature
      • Infrastructure and capacity
      • Networks, aids collaboration, assist meetings, recruits people, especially on an international level
      • Outreach, raising awareness and dissemination
      • New technologies
      • Quality control
      • Leverage and assistance with fund raising
      Pyrosequence data of endophytes.
      • For a group of fungi that are poorly described in a continent with a large proportion of undiscovered fungi, barcoding has some challenges
        • First level:
          • Most are new species
          • Assistance is needed even with known species
          • Difficulty when blasting
        • Second level:
          • Deciding on species limits, % similarity cut-offs and meaning of snp’s
          • Multiple genes and phylogenetic analyses necessary for proper identification of known groups
          • Taxonomic descriptions
      • Standardized pipeline and coordination necessary
          • Solid, high quality foundation necessary is thus needed
      • Series of carefully planned surveys needed to build library systematically
      • Building of a database or library enriched with taxonomic studies will be very useful to aid in identification based on barcoding
        • Enables local sequence searches
        • Future collections may expand species with few isolates or singleton or doubleton species, and more species will improve resolution
        • Vouchers exists and quality control
      • Use of environmental barcoding to make meaningful impact to study large numbers and diversity of fungi in Africa
    • Acknowledgements Dr Joyce Jefwa, Kenya (Kenya) http://www.toyotaoutreach.com/