Identification and Classification of Boletes

Research Issue

[photo:] Boletus aurisimus

Boletes are large, fleshy ectomycorrhizal fungi that grow along tree roots and have pores instead of gills beneath their mushroom-like caps. Boletes help their host trees gather nutrients, survive periodic stresses like drought and toxic chemicals, and can be critical for tree growth and seedling survival.

It is important to determine which species of boletes are associated with particular host tree species in order to understand the host-fungal relationship. Our research also looks for connections between fungi from the eastern and western continental USA and the Caribbean Basin, providing important data on dispersal patterns of ectomycorrhizal fungi as changes occur in the ranges of host trees. Forest managers can use information about the diversity and distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi to help assess forest health and restore disturbed areas of forests.

Our Research

Dr. Beatriz Ortiz-Santana is studying leccinoid bolete fungi, comparing North American and European species to determine their geographical distribution patterns and describing new species as needed. Leccinoid fungi include ectomycorrhizal boletes (division Basidiomycota, class Agaricomycetes, order Boletales) that have non-ornamented spores and scale-like projections on their stalks. They are commonly collected in summer and fall in different types of forests throughout North America.

Dr. Ortiz-Santana and her colleagues are generating a dataset of ribosomal and protein coding genes for about 150 bolete specimens from Europe, North America and Central America. The goal is to determine and confirm the diversity of Leccinum in the Americas and to analyze the evolutionary relationship among species. Dr. Ortiz-Santana has reached out to amateur and professional mushroom clubs to obtain recently collected bolete specimens.

Expected Outcomes

These studies will produce scientific and popular publications with identification keys, photographs and species descriptions for use by mycologists, plant pathologists, forest managers, mushroom clubs and anyone who is interested in the identification of forest fungi. New species will be described and new information on host and geographic ranges are expected. DNA sequences of fungal specimens are made available to the research community through online DNA sequence databases like GenBank.

Research Results

Anderlechi-Barbosa, Silva; Ovrebo, Clark L.; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Sá, Mariana, C.A.; Sulzbacher, Marcelo A.; Roy, Melanie; Wartchow, Felipe. 2016. Tylopilus aquarius, comb. et stat. nov., and its new variety from Brazil. Sydowia 69:115-122.

Baroni, Timothy J.; Cifuentes, Joaquin; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Capello, Silvia. 2015. A new species of Phlebopus (Boletales, Basidiomycota) from Mexico. North American Fungi 10(7):1-13.

Kuo, Michael; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz. Studies in leccinoid fungi. Mushroom Expert. http://www.mushroomexpert.com/studies_leccinoid.html

Li, Yan-Chun; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Zeng, Nian-Kai; Feng, Bang; Yang, Zhu L. 2014. Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus Veloporphyrellus. Mycologia 106(2):291-306.

Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Bessette, Alan E.; McConnell, Owen L. 2016. Boletus durhamensis sp. nov. from North Carolina. Mycotaxon 131:703-715.

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

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

Research Partners

  • Last modified: May 6, 2019