Fungi have been often neglected, despite the fact that they provided penicillin, lovastatin and many other important medicines. They are an understudied, but essential, fascinating and biotechnologically useful group of organisms. The study of fungi in northern Thailand has been carried out by us since 2005. These studies have been diverse, ranging from ecological aspects, phylogenetics with the incorportation of molecular dating, taxonomy (including morphology and chemotaxonomy) among a myriad of microfungi, to growing novel mushrooms, and DNA-based identification of plant pathogens. In this paper, advances in understanding the biodiversity of fungi in the region are discussed and compared with those further afield. Many new species have been inventoried for the region, but many unknown species remain to be described and/or catalogued. For example, in the edible genus Agaricus, over 35 new species have been introduced from northern Thailand, and numerous other taxa await description. In this relatively well known genus, 93% of species novelty is apparent. In the microfungi, which are relatively poorly studied, the percentage of novel species is, surprisingly, generally not as high (55–96%). As well as Thai fungi, fungi on several hosts from Europe have been also investigated. Even with the well studied European microfungi an astounding percentage of new taxa (32–76%) have been discovered. The work is just a beginning and it will be a daunting task to document this astonishingly high apparent novelty among fungi.
Hyde, K.D., Norphanphoun, C., Chen, J., Dissanayake, A.J., Doilom, M., Hongsanan, S., Jayawardena, R.S., Jeewon, R., Perera, R.H., Thongbai, B., Wanasinghe, D.N., Wisitrassameewong, K., Tibpromma, S., & Stadler, M. (2018). Thailand’s amazing diversity: up to 96% of fungi in northern Thailand may be novel. Fungal Diversity, 93, 215-239.
Keywords: Thailand’s diversity, novel fungi in northern Thailand, phylogenetics, taxonomy, mushrooms, microfungi.
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