Unraveling Soil Fungal Communities in the Western Ghats, India: Conservation Implications and Future Directions

Manikandan Ariyan
Manikandan Ariyan
Western ghats, India
project abstract

The Western Ghats of India are of tremendous global importance for biodiversity protection and are areas of significant geological, cultural, and aesthetic worth. It is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of India, stretching approximately 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) from Gujarat in the north to Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south. The Western Ghats mountain system, which is older than the Himalayas, contains geomorphic features of tremendous importance and distinct biophysical and biological processes. The high mountain forest ecosystems at the site impact the Indian monsoon weather pattern. The site, which moderates the region's tropical climate, is one of the outstanding examples of the world's monsoon system. It also boasts a high level of biological diversity and endemism and is considered one of the world's eight 'hottest hotspots' of biological diversity. The site's woodlands contain some of the best examples of non-equatorial tropical evergreen forests and at least 325 species of globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibians, reptile, and fish. Metabarcoding approaches will enable a comprehensive assessment of the soil fungal communities in the Western Ghats, India, allowing for unraveling the intricate and diverse fungal assemblages in this region. The findings will demonstrate significant associations between soil fungal diversity and environmental variables, highlighting the impact of factors such as altitude, land use practices, and soil characteristics on fungal community composition. This research will contribute to the conservation implications and future directions for protecting the unique fungal diversity of the Western Ghats, aiding in the development of effective conservation strategies for this under-explored region.

Photo by Smaran Alva on Unsplash