Fungi in the Sky Islands Course. Hosted by the Southwest Research Station in the Chiricahua Mountains of Southern Arizona, not a place many people would think about for mushrooms. However this unique geological formation contains a diversity of fungi, most drastically adrift from the rest of their populations. We used the Bio-Rad Fish Barcoding with some Fungal ITS primers to generate DNA sequence for vouchered specimens. Educators from NY to CA attended, learned these techniques all the while contributing to new scientific knowledge about what species of mushrooms can be found in Arizona.
1) Tylopilus rubrobrunneus is an excellent example of the disjunct populations of fungi in the Chiricahua. The map shows it’s known distribution (iNaturalist data) and the pin is where this was found and confirmed with DNA sequence. The distribution hints at a time long ago when a continuous oak forest ranged from the east coast down into Mexico and Arizona. Mushroom photo by Sigrid Jakob.
2) the course brought together teachers with many different skill sets and will be offered again in 2020.
3) going through specimens from one day of collecting that occurred at the Canada zone of the mountains
4) Bio-Rads Fish Barcoding Kit
5) DNA extraction for fungi starts with physically breaking the cells open
6) spin columns are used to clean up the extracted DNA before PCR amplification
7) T100 thermal cycler getting loaded
8) gel results using UView to visualize
9) PCR results were excellent, only 1 failed reaction and many of the educators had never picked up a pipette before, so very impressive. The majority of these also produced useable DNA sequence
10) view from the research station ..
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