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, 55, 13-33

How Many Species of Fungi Are There at the Tip of Africa?

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How Many Species of Fungi Are There at the Tip of Africa?

Pedro W Crous et al. Stud Mycol.

Abstract

Several recent studies have reviewed the extent of fungal biodiversity, and have used these data as basis for revised estimates of species numbers based on known numbers of plants and insects. None of these studies, however, have focused on fungal biodiversity in South Africa. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the National Collection of Fungi (PREM) in South Africa in 2005, it is thus timely to reflect on the taxonomic research that has been conducted in South Africa over the past Century. Information is presented on the extent of fungal collections preserved at PREM, and the associated research publications that have largely resulted from this resource. These data are placed in context of the known plant and insect biodiversity, and used as basis to estimate the potential number of fungi that could be expected in South Africa. The conservative estimate is of approximately 200 000 species without taking into account those associated with a substantial insect biodiversity.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Unique South African flora. A–C. Cape Floristic Region. D. Beach vegetation. E. Coastal forest. F. Mangrove vegetation. G. Ceres Karoo. H–J. Succulent Karoo. K. Bushveld and grassland. L. Wolkberg centre. All photographs by H. Glen, except A by P.W. Crous.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Unique South African flora (continued). A. Wolkberg centre. B. Montane grassland. C. Degraded bushveld. D–F. Soutpansberg centre. Photographs by H. Glen.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.
Approximate number of species described from South Africa.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.
Numbers of fungal taxa associated with two plant groups: Proteaceae (proteas) and Restionaceae (restios).
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.
Numbers of fungal species that are unique to each plant group (unique) and are found on other host plants (common).

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