The following text is from an abstract of a paper entitled: "Evidence for High Biodiversity of Agaricales in Neotropical Montane Quercus Forests," published in "Biodiversity and Conservation of Neotropical Montane Forests." p. 303. 1995, S. P. Churchill, et al., eds. (published and © by The New York Botanical Garden).
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Species composition and distribution patterns for selected genera of Agaricales (mushrooms and relatives) were compared to provide preliminary information on their potential biodiversity and degree of endemism in Neotropical montane Quercus forests. Only genera with species that form ectomycorrhizae were examined, because knowledge of saprobic agarics is currently too fragmentary to allow comparisons of diverse mycotas. Comparisons were made of the species composition and distribution of Amanita, Laccaria, Lactarius, and genera in the Boletaceae reported from temperate North America, southern Neotropical Quercus forests (Costa Rica-Colombia), the Lesser Antilles, tropical South America excluding montane Colombia, and temperate South America. These genera represent the major lineages of the Agaricales and occur commonly in the Western hemisphere. The examined fungi showed discrete rather than cosmopolitan distribution ranges, with little overlap in species composition between these different geographic regions. Potential endemism was high in Neotropical oak forests, with 30-100% of the species in each of the genera studied not reported from outside the region. Phylogenetic analyses are sorely needed for these genera, but the southern Neotropical Quercus ectomycorrhizal mycota of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia appeared, on the basis of comparisons of phenetic similarity, to be more similar in composition to the North American mycota than to the mycotas of other areas of the Western Hemisphere. Although the Neotropical montane forest mycota is still very completely unknown, this study has documented a high level of biodiversity and discrete distribution ranges for many taxa. These data are congruent with recent hypotheses that there are many species of fungi.
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