Plot-based observations on rare macrofungi confined to peatland habitats in West Siberia


Nina Filippova


Conservation of fungi largely depends on conservation of their habitats as many species are host- and habitat-specific. The peatland habitats are characterized by excess of water and acidic pH of soil,  hence the mycota of peatlands is relatively poor by species number but rich in habitat-specific species. Considering small areas of pristine peatlands which were mainly destroyed in Europe, species restricted to these habitats are now rare or endangered. A few dozens of macrofungi confined to peatlands now protected by some Red Data Lists of European countries. The analyses of Red Data Lists of different Russian regions revealed 6 species confined to peatland habitats. The biology, ecology and occurrence of some of these species were explored in details. For example, a discomycete growing on Sphagnum and peat Ascocoryne turficola found exclusively in fens and protected in all countries where it was registered. Another example is Armillaria ectypa (Marsh Honey Fungus) - a macromycete of fen habitats which is included in the IUCN Red List under the category NT due to the drainage and other destruction of its habitats. Many other species remain under-explored and the peatland habitats are rare targets of mycological surveys on the whole. Therefore, targeted surveys of fungal communities composition, quantitative structure and dynamics are important to be conducted in peatlands. Our plot-based investigation of peatland fungal communities in West Siberia, Russia was initiated in 2014 and will continue in the future. The recommended protocols for sampling macrofungi (Mueller et al. 2004) were used allowing to receive reliable reproducible results. The major target were oligotrophic Sphagnum-dominated bogs, which are widely spread and well preserved in pristine state in the region. Altogether about 70 species of macrofungi were registered in raised bogs during 4 years of observations, including some being restricted to peatlands (ecology determined based on literature data). The last group includes about 30 species and is of particular interest from the position of Conservation programs: the occurrence of these species was analyzed based on plot-counts during 4 years, the phenology of fruiting and weather-related dynamics have been registered and the ecology and population structure of some species were studied in details (1). Eight species restricted to bogs estimated to be relatively rare (based on counts of fruiting bodies) and of particular interest for conservation programs: A. turficola, Geoglossum sphagnophilum, Entoloma fuscomarginatum, Hygrocybe cinerella, Mycena concolor, Omphaliaster borealis, Psilocybe turficola and Sphagnomphalia brevibasidiata. Three species were included in the Red Data list of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra based on these studies.

1. Filippova N V, Bulyonkova T M 2013 Notes on the ecology of Ascocoryne turficola (Ascomycota: Helotiales) in West Siberia Environmental Dynamics and global Climate Change 4 (2)

Ascocoryne turficola - a rare discomycete restricted to peatland habitats