Navigation Links
International experts collect alpine fungi in Beartooth Mountains of Montana
Date:9/8/2008

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Armed guards once kept polar bears away while Cathy Cripps collected mushrooms and fungi on the island of Svalbard between Norway and the North Pole. Another time, Cripps encountered musk-oxen while gathering fungi in Greenland.

It's no wonder, then, that some of the world's top experts on fungi asked if they would face grizzly bears in Montana, said Cripps, a Montana State University mycologist who hosted a recent International Symposium on Arctic-Alpine Mycology. Cripps is president of ISAM and curator of the MSU fungi collection.

Mycologists from 10 countries collected fungi and mushrooms above tree line in the Beartooth Mountains near Red Lodge, Mont., in August. It was the first time scientists collected fungi in the alpine regions of the Rockies in a large group, Cripps said. It was also the first time since 1980 that ISAM met in the United States.

No one encountered grizzlies, but Cripps said they did enjoy mountain goats and wild flowers while finding more than 80 species of fungi. At least four of the species are new to science. Carrying red bags so they could spot each other from a distance, the scientists collected mushrooms above ground that indicated fungal mycelium below ground. Cripps said she was happy that smoke from area forest fires had disappeared and that the snow was still melting, providing plenty of moisture for fungal specimens.

"We were particularly looking at fungi important to plant sustainability," Cripps said. "Most plants cannot survive in these habitats without fungi on their roots or fungi to recycle nutrients into the soil. The fungi act as Mother Nature's fertilizer."

About eight percent of the Earth's land surface is covered by arctic or alpine habitat, so the fungi that grow there are important, Cripps continued.

"Without arctic and alpine fungi, most plants would not be able to survive in these habitats, and animals depend on plants for nutrition and habitat," Cripps said. "In our world, it is the fungi that keep terrestrial ecosystems functioning."

Alpine fungi may yield new industrial enzymes and some that make it easier to wash clothes in cold water, she said. Europeans stabilize their ski slopes by adding alpine fungi to the roots of plants.

Cripps received a National Science Foundation grant in 2000 to study alpine fungi in the Rocky Mountains. Cripps said that when she wrote the grant, arctic-alpine ecology was well-known in other areas of the world, but not in the Rockies.

"No one had gone above tree line to look," Cripps said.

Egon Horak from the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich, Switzerland, one of the world's best arctic-alpine mycologists according to Cripps and co-host of the Montana conference, said arctic-alpine fungi are widely distributed in cold climate regions, particularly in the northern hemisphere. They are threatened by global warming, however.

The fungi are "earmarked to become extinct unless they have the opportunity to migrate into ecologically adequate sites at higher elevation," Horak said in an e-mail.

Some of the fungi the scientists gathered in the Beartooths came to MSU to be dried, described and examined more closely. Other collections went to herbaria worldwide. Findings from each of the ISAM scientists will be published in the "Journal of North American Fungi," Cripps said. The fungi and its genetic material will be stored at MSU, where they are available to researchers from all over the world.


'/>"/>

Contact: Evelyn Boswell
evelynb@montana.edu
406-994-5135
Montana State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Corporate Safe Specialists Launches International Sales Efforts
2. International team reveals first prognosticator of survival in aggressive cancer
3. [video] Michael DePasquale, CEO of BIO-key International, Inc., Discusses Q2 2008 Revenue Growth on WallSt.nets 3-Minute Press Show
4. NYU Langone Medical Centers tip sheet to the International Conference on Alzheimers Disease 2008
5. International conference to release new findings on smell and taste
6. International team identifies 21 new genetic risk factors for Crohns disease
7. 2008 ASABE Annual International Meeting
8. The 12th International Behavioral Ecology Congress held at Cornell University, Aug. 10-14
9. Biotechnology key to developing sustainable industries says international panel
10. BBVA Foundation international study on attitudes to stem cell research
11. International symposium explores fire suppression economics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... Janice Kephart , former 9/11 ... Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following ... March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the ... be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation ... applications are suspended by until at least July ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing ... feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing ... run alongside the expo portion of the event and ... demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing and ... manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... From industry leaders, sports stars, and Hollywood ... failed. Many of these people had lost all hope. Their stories are ... Download (pdf) , “Neil takes readers on a riveting journey through the ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Charleston, SC (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 ... ... Express, safely and accurately automates the most dangerous step of sample prep for ... digestion system to provide automation at an affordable price. The system is ideal ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Poway, CA (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 , ... VetStem Biopharma ’s CEO ... H. Riordan PA, PhD in Riordan’s new book "Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide". ... past 14 years. They bonded over an interest in the potential of stem cell ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... FRANCISCO , Sept. 19, 2017 ValGenesis ... Solutions (VLMS) is pleased to announce the strategic partnership ... to provide clients with validation services using the latest ... partner, VTI will provide clients with efficient and cost-effective ... a marketing partner for the ValGenesis VLMS system. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: