Belowground soil microorganism’s biodiversity study in Mount Mabu (Mozambique) by using high-throughput sequencing technology (BeMaSeq)

Iris Victorino
Iris Victorino
project abstract

Tropical forest ecosystems retain the highest levels of biodiversity, fact that makes them great contributors to Earth’s total biodiversity. Mount Mabu is a mountain located in the north of Mozambique of approximately 1700 meters covering roughly more than 7000 hectares. It is estimated that mount Mabu is the largest medium-altitude rain forest in Africa, encompassing diverse wildlife, unknown to scientists. To date, only the vegetation of the lower slopes in the south-eastern has been described – woodland, forest, and scrub/sedge patches on bare rock, remaining the rest unknown. The mycorrhizal fungi, a very important group of soil microorganisms, are present in many habitats but knowledge regarding their presence in tropical regions is still scarce. Their community structures is diverse between mountains at different altitudes, especially in tropical rainforests, so, it is expected that mount Mabu, as an unexplored forest, could represent a hotspot for many species including soil microorganisms such as the mycorrhizal fungi. To address this, sampling, collaborative efforts and use of molecular methodologies are encouraged. Our project intend to sample and isolate AMF using morphological and molecular techniques and lastly attempt to cultivate it in laboratory.

Image: Conradie W, Bittencourt-Silva GB, Engelbrecht HM, Loader SP, Menegon M, Nanvonamuquitxo C, Scott M, Tolley KA (2016) Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests: new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians. Zoosystematics and Evolution 92(2): 163-180.