Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Fungi & Slime Moulds

<em>Mycosphaerella</em> sp.

Mycosphaerella sp.

The subantarctic islands of New Zealand have been little explored mycologically. Before our expedition in March 2000 fungi had usually been collected incidentally, mainly by botanists primarily interested in plants. McKenzie & Foggo (1989) provide a complete account of the history of mycological research on New Zealand's subantarctic islands. They noted 49 named species of fungi, with a further 2 identified to genus only, plus 2 species of myxomycetes.

The Year 2000 expedition to Campbell Island and the Auckland Islands yielded more than 3000 collections. Preliminary examination of the specimens, indicates they include at least 52 species of agarics (3 previously known), 70 species of wood-rotting resupinate and bracket fungi (5 previously known), 32 species of rust fungi (15 previously known), 75 species of ascomycetes (16 previously known), and 20 species of slime moulds (2 previously known). Although collecting on Campbell Island was intensive, our expedition spent only limited time on the larger, environmentally more diverse Auckland Islands, and the record of fungi from these islands will be especially incomplete. The rust fungi provide an example — mainland New Zealand has about 1 species of rust to every 16 vascular plant species, Campbell Island has a ratio of 1 to 13, the Auckland Islands a ratio of 1 to 23. It is likely that many more rust species remain to be discovered on the Auckland Islands.

Although some of the fungi found on the 2000 expedition are likely to be undescribed, overall the geographic relationships of the species found on Campbell Island and the Auckland Islands appear to be with mainland New Zealand. The majority of the subantarctic island species are found on similar hosts and substrates in other parts of New Zealand. Some of the novelties found include an undescribed Diaporthella sp., a genus previously unrecorded for New Zealand, and new rust species on Dracophyllum longifolium and the fern Polystichum vestitum. A few species are truely subantarctic — such as the tiny, grass-inhabiting discomycete Lachnum enzenspergerianus, now known from Campbell, Macquarie, Iles Crozet and Ile de la Possession.

Publications

  • McKenzie EHC 2008. Rust fungi in the subantarctic islands of New Zealand. Mycoscience 49(1): 1-10.
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