Working closely with experts in Oregon and Gabon, the Gabon-Oregon Center launched a project involving the study of fungi in tropical forests. This work is led jointly by UO Biology Professor Dr. Bitty Roy and Gabon National Research Center scientist Dr. Prudence Yombiyeni.
Fungi drive a large portion of the carbon cycle in the tropics, and despite their importance they are not well understood. Not only are they important in the carbon cycle and plant health, they also contain many compounds of interest to industry, such as insecticides, fungicides, medicines, and compounds used to break down wood.
Tropical Africa has been extremely understudied for fungal diversity, and this team seeks to address this research gap. Drs. Roy and Yombiyeni initially focused on collecting preliminary data from Gabon that will be used in a future full proposal to the Systematics and Biodiversity Science program at NSF.
The team hopes to gain a better understanding of what fungi species are found in the forests of Gabon and what are the habitat requirements for these fungi. Not only will this work facilitate discovery and understanding of the biodiversity of these important forest fungi, but it will also be an essential first step for future applied and ecological work in Gabon. This team also plans to publish a joint publication based on this important work.