Mapping the Mycorrhizal Fungi of Armenia

International Congress of Armenian Mycologists
International Congress of Armenian Mycologists
Armenia
project abstract

Co-PIs:

International Congress of Armenian Mycologists or ICAM: Claudia Victoroff-Bashian, Patricia Ononiwu Kaishian, PhD, Arik Joukhajian, Tania Kurbessoian, PhD

The International Congress of Armenian Mycologists (ICAM) are conducting a nation-wide survey of soil fungi across the mountainous Republic of Armenia, targeting unique microclimates from humid deciduous mixed forest to semi-desert ecosystems clustered across a small geographic range. The Caucasus region and southwest Asia are listed as highly important regions for fungal conservation (Dahlberg et al., 2010), but anthropogenic threats to the Armenian landscapes continue to increase. While travel to portions of the affected regions remains impossible or impractical, the imposing threat of warfare has created an extreme urgency for biodiversity surveys within adjacent ecosystems. Understanding the identities and distribution of fungi in this region is paramount for plant and fungal conservation, and to contribute to a global understanding of soil fungus biogeography, but few studies have occurred within the Southern Caucasus region and even fewer studies have occurred in Armenia relative to its neighbors. By comparing the species composition of fungi across a stark environmental gradient within the small geographic range of Armenia, this project will provide critical information on how biotic soil conditions impact the distribution of mycorrhizal fungi.