TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
THE CONTEXT: In a significant scientific breakthrough, researchers from the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI), Botanical Survey of India, and the University of Hyderabad have unveiled a new fungus species named Trichoglossum syamviswanathii.
- The discovery adds to the rich fungal diversity of the Western Ghats region, particularly Kerala.
- The fungus species is aptly named after the esteemed scientist and former director of KFRI, Syam Viswanath, acknowledging his substantial contributions to the field of forestry in India.
- Trichoglossum syamviswanathii was meticulously collected from the moist soil of the Bambusetum at the KFRI Field Research Centre in Palappilly, Thrissur.
Diversity in Western Ghats:
- The Western Ghats region of Kerala is globally recognized for its abundant fungal diversity, including numerous endemic species.
- The discovery underscores the critical importance of continuous exploration and research in unveiling the diverse flora, fauna, and fungi within the Western Ghats ecosystem.
- Globally, the genus Trichoglossum is known to have 55 records as of December 2023.
- However, the diversity of Trichoglossum species in India is notably underrepresented.
- Trichoglossum colloquially known as “hairy earth tongues” fungus.
- It exhibits distinctive features, including club-shaped apothecia in dark shades of black or brown.
Saprotrophic Behaviour and Ecological Role:
- Trichoglossum species, displaying saprotrophic behaviour, contribute significantly to the decomposition of organic matter.
- They play a crucial role in breaking down dead plant material, aiding in the recycling of nutrients within forest ecosystems.
- The ecological factors influencing the morphology and distribution of these fungi highlight their intricate relationship with the environment.
Global Distribution and Biological Potentiality:
- Trichoglossum species are globally distributed in tropical and temperate forests across five continents.
- While exhibiting saprotrophic behaviour, they can also be found as endophytes in plant roots.
- Despite their ecological importance, the biological potentiality of Trichoglossum syamviswanathii remains largely unexplored.
- The need for further research to delve into the proximate analysis and biological attributes of this newly discovered species has been emphasized.