Tropical Forest Mycology

Research Issue

[photo:] Amatina jacksonianaThe best way to minimize the cost of responding to and managing forest diseases caused by fungi is to prevent the introduction and establishment of new fungal species from other parts of the world. Tropical islands, including those in US territories and Hawaii, have a long history of damage from introduced species like the Guava Rust fungus. Other emerging diseases in the eastern United States (such as the recently identified fungus that causes Laurel Wilt) pose a significant threat to native forests and the avocado industry.

The USDA programs that inspect imported plants rely on our research to identify tropical fungi that may pose a threat to forest health in the United States. Inspectors also use tools developed by our scientists and research partners to distinguish disease-causing fungi from the many native and beneficial species.

Our Research

[photo:] Collecting basidiomycete fungi associated with pines in Belize.The Center for Forest Mycology Research (CFMR) leads critical studies on tropical fungi that are native to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and other countries in the Caribbean Basin. The primary goals of this research are to: (1) recognize emerging tropical forest diseases caused by fungi, especially those with the potential to spread to the continental United States; and (2) identify the effects of environmental changes on the distribution of both beneficial and potentially harmful forest fungi.

We do extensive field work and laboratory analysis to analyze fungi from tropical areas and figure out their roles in the ecosystem. We compare fungi collected in the field with the CFMR culture and specimen collections in Madison, Wisconsin to correctly identify and differentiate fungal species. We also add specimens to the CFMR collections when we find new species.
Cultures of tropical fungi in the CFMR collection are frequently screened for enzymes or other compounds that might be useful in medicines or manufacturing processes. Access to fungal cultures from tropical countries is often limited by laws and regulations, but CFMR specimens from Hawaii and US territories are available for industrial screening without complex restrictions or agreements.

Research Results

Brazee, Nicholas J.; Lindner, Daniel L.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Fraver, Shawn; Forrester, Jodi A.; Mladenoff, David J. 2014. Disturbance and diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi: effects of canopy gaps and downed woody debris. Biodiversity and Conservation. 23(9): 2155-2172.

Brazee, Nicholas J.; Lindner, Daniel L.; Fraver, Shawn; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Milo, Amy M. 2012. Wood-inhabiting, polyporoid fungi in aspen-dominated forests managed for biomass in the U.S. Lake States. Fungal Ecology. 5: 600-609.

Baroni, T.J.; Bocsusis, N.; Lodge, D.J.; Lindner, D.L. 2008. A new species of Pleurocollybia (Tricholomataceae; Agaricales; Basidiomycetes) from Belize
Mycotaxon 103:353-363.

Baroni, T.J.; Franco-molano, A.; Lodge, D.J.; Lindner, D.L.; Horak, E.; Hofstetter, V. 2007. Arthrornyces and Blastosporella, two new genera of conidia-producing lyophylloid agarics (Agaricales, Basidiornycota) from the neotropics. Mycological Research. III: 572-580.

Castellano, M.A.; Trappe, J.M.; Lodge, D.J. 2007. Mayamontana coccolobae (Basidiomycota), a new sequestrate taxon from Belize. Mycotaxon 100:289-294.

Lodge, D.J.; Læssøe, T.; Aime, M.C.; Henkel, T.W. 2008. Montane and cloud forest specialists among neotropical Xylaria species. North American Fungi 3:193-213.

Lodge, D.J.; Ovrebo, C.L. 2008. First records of Hygrophoraceae from Panama including a new species of Camarophyllus and a new veiled species in Hygrocybe section Firmae. Fungal Diversity 32:69-80.

Lodge, D.J.; McDowell, W.H.; Macy, J.; Ward, S.K.; Leisso, R.; Claudio-Campos, K; Kuhnert, K. 2007. Distribution and role of mat-forming saprobic basidiomycetes in a tropical forest. In: Boddy, Lynne; Frankland, Juliet; Van West, Peiter, eds. Ecology of saprotrophic basidiomycetes. The British Mycological Society. Academic Press:  pp 197-209.

Nakasone, K.K. 2004. Morphological studies in Veluticeps, Pileodon, and related taxa. Sydowia 56:38-60.

Nakasone, K.K. 2005. Leptocorticium (Corticiaceae s.l., Basidiomycota): new species and combinations. Mycological Progress 4:251-256.

Nakasone, K.K. 2006. Dendrothele griseocana (Corticiaceae) and related taxa with hyphal pegs. Nova Hedwigia 83:99-108.

Ortiz-Santana, B.; Lodge, D.J.; Baroni, T.J.; Both, E.E. 2007. Boletes from Belize and the Dominican Republic. Fungal Diversity. 27:247-416.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Daniel Lindner, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Scientist, Botanist
  • Michael Castellano, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Scientist, Research Forester
  • Beatriz Ortiz-Santana, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Scientist, Botanist
  • D. Jean Lodge, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Botanist (retired)
  • Karen Nakasone, US Forest Service- Northern Research Station Scientist, Botanist (retired)

Research Partners

  • Last modified: May 6, 2019