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Hunting fungi in Guyana

Photography by Natalie van Hoose

Story by Purdue Agriculture May 8th, 2017

In 2016, Purdue University science writer Natalie van Hoose spent three weeks in Guyana, accompanying Catherine Aime, professor of mycology, and a team of Aime’s colleagues to search for and identify new species and genera of fungi.

The team included Purdue doctoral student Rachel Koch; Terry Henkel, a professor of botany at Humboldt State University; and fifteen Patamona, Amerindians who have worked with Aime and Henkel for nearly two decades.

The group has covered the same six hectares in the upper Potaro Basin near Mount Ayanganna for the past 17 years in order to learn more about the fungal biodiversity of a region we know little about. Fungi provide many ecological services in the rainforest, forming symbiotic relationships with plant species and decomposing leaf litter and dead material.


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