This project aims to expand the very limited knowledge we have regarding the fungal diversity of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. We have a firm understanding of the flora of these regions but very little work has been done to investigate the communities of fungi in the soil; how they respond to grazing and other external pressures.
Predominantly work has been located around the Thatcher, Greene and Barff Peninsulas in South Georgia and Albemarle in West Falkland as well as the Neck at Saunders Island.There are also plans for a return to Albemarle in early 2018 to carry out more sampling to collect temporal data.
In Aberdeen the soil samples have undergone DNA extraction where they will be used for targeted metagenomics analysis, this will generate a very large dataset of potentially 10 million DNA sequences.
This data can then generate complex information regarding the fungal species present at each location, and their rough abundance in the community.This data should be analysed by summer 2017.
Work is also continuing on macrofungi collected from both the Falklands and South Georgia. Once identified using DNA barcoding, potential new records of species and potential new species will be published. New records for South Georgia have already provisionally been found.
Some highlights of July 2018 – June 2019 were visiting the Falkland Islands for the last time with my project to complete sampling in February 2019 and completing all lab work in June 2019.