From páramos to savannas and sea with mycorrhizal fungi

Luis Daniel Prada Salcedo
Luis Daniel Prada Salcedo
Cordillera, Páramo, montane forests and llanos – Colombia
project abstract

This project focuses on Colombia, which ranks as the second most biodiverse country in the world but remains less explored in terms of underground communities. Colombia’s high biodiversity can be attributed to its unique geographic location and topography. This SPUN expedition explores different ecoregions by collecting soil samples in two sampling transects, ranging from highlands (moorlands, 3,000 m.a.s.l) through mid-altitudes, lowlands, and down to sea level. This expedition will encompass various ecoregions: Páramo, montane forests (bosque andino), llanos (tropical savannas), and the Caribbean coast.

The two distinct transects cover diverse environmental conditions and vegetation types that, with the help of different local communities, will enable us to uncover the fungal biodiversity in Colombia. The expedition faces challenges due to the difficult topography, limited routes, and necessary permissions for accessing some locations. However, overcoming these obstacles could lead to the discovery of novel mycorrhizal species and enhance our understanding of ecology and plant-mycorrhizal interactions.

In general, exploring these ecoregions will provide a more precise and realistic representation of underground resources worldwide. Similarly, at the local level, the expedition will empower local communities, stakeholders, and authorities to understand the significance of their natural resources and initiate initiatives for conservation, monitoring, and restoration