Humboldt's legacy on its journey through Ecuador from underground networks: mapping mycorrhizal fungal communities

Jessica Duchicela
Jessica Duchicela
ECUADOR
project abstract

Humboldt reported that tropical plant species richness decreased with increasing elevation and decreasing temperature. Tropical regions harbor the majority of the world’s biodiversity, surprisingly, patterns in plant and fungal diversity on tropical mountains have not yet been described. Alexander von Humboldt ascended the Chimborazo, Antisana and Pichincha volcanos in Ecuador. He recorded the distribution of plant species and vegetation zones along its slopes and in surrounding parts of the Andes. We propose to follow the steps of those three Humbold´s expedition, following an Andean transect traversing 3.5 to 5 km in elevation (equivalent to a 6.5°–26.4°C mean annual temperature range) to test whether the soil fungal species, particularity mycorrhiza, diversity and composition follow similar biogeographical patterns with shared environmental drivers. This will be done for the first time in Ecuador. With the help of historical records of Humboldt's Expedition.