Exploring mycorrhizal fungal diversity and composition across elevation and land use types in Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, Everest Region, Nepal

Shiva Devkota, PhD
Shiva Devkota, PhD
Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests (Everest Region, Nepal)
project abstract

This research seeks to redress the limited consideration that fungi have received in Nepal's research and conservation priorities, especially within the broader context of the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. It aims to investigate mycorrhizal fungal diversity and composition in the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests of Sagarmatha National Park, known as the realm of Mount Everest (8848m). By examining three elevation levels (3000m, 3400m, and 3800m) and two land use types (natural forests and meadows), the study seeks to understand how mycorrhizal communities vary across different altitudes and land use patterns. To achieve this, the project will adhere to the SPUN sample collection guidelines and employ advanced molecular techniques, such as metabarcoding of the rDNA region. 

A significant aspect of this study is its emphasis on community involvement in the research process. The research findings will be shared through peer-reviewed scientific publications and outreach mediums. Moreover, the project aspires to contribute to educational materials, including to update brochures for Sagarmatha National Park and the national checklist of fungi in Nepal. Furthermore, by enhancing our understanding of mycorrhizal diversity, this research aims to highlight the vital role these fungi play in the Himalayan ecosystem and advocate for their preservation through conservation actions.