Preface to 'Biodiversity and biogeography of Australian fungi'
Jack Simpson and Tom W. May
Australian Systematic Botany
14(3) I - ii
The ascomycetes of Australia are generally poorly known. Some major contributions to their study last century are those of G. Beaton and G. Weste, C. G. Hansford, K. D. Hyde and co-workers, J. Kohlmeyer and H. J. Swart. A preliminary list of more than 1657 Australian ascomycete species was located in an extensive search of the literature. The Australian Meliolaceae, Mycosphaerellaceae and Xylariaceae are relatively well known. Most ascomycete records are in the genera Meliola, Hypoxylonand Xylaria. Comprehensive treatments of Australian ascomycetes can be found in the monographs of the genera Anthostomella, Didymosphaeria, Hypoxylonand Massarina and Orders Heliotales and Pezizales. Freshwater and marine ascomycetes and ascomycetes associated with plant diseases have been relatively well studied. There is also a relatively large amount of literature on the ascomycetes occurring on palms. Ascomyceteous pathogens may be host specific (e.g. Mycosphaerella, Phyllachoraspp.) or probable generalists (e.g. Diaporthe, Glomerellaspp.). Saprobes are less likely to be host-specific, but examples from palms indicate that several species may exhibit a host genus preference. Biogeographical distributions of ascomycetes on Archontophoenix alexandrae indicate that when a plant is removed from its native surroundings (e.g. a rainforest) and planted elsewhere (e.g. in botanical gardens) it looses its endemic fungal population and ubiquituous fungi move in and fill the niche of these lost fungi. Most ascomycetes are inconspicuous and poorly collected. Studies on most of the larger families are already in progress. Therefore, a habitat approach is recommended for future Australian ascomycete studies. This can provide data on biodiversity, ecology and the roles of the fungi and specimens can be lodged in herbaria for future taxonomic studies.
Full text doi:10.1071/SBv14n3_PR
© CSIRO 2001