The Biology and Distribution of Morels in Southern Chile


Furci, G., F., L.B.K. & Pfister, D.H., 2019. The Biology and Distribution of Morels in Southern Chile. Presented at the 2019 Mycological Society of America Meeting.
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The Biology and Distribution of Morels in Southern Chile


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The harvesting of morels is a vital economic activity for local communities in Chile because they are a significant commercial export for the country. Although many species of morels produce ascomata in the absence of fire, abundant ascomata production occurs among some Morchella species when triggered by fire. The intentional burning of Nothofagus forests in Southern Chile, as a means to increase morel production, has become a problem and has negatively impacted ecosystems. Information on the distribution of morels in South America is limited. Spegazzini (1909) described M. patagonica from Argentina and Gamundi et al. (2004) listed five Morchella species from Patagonia and surrounding areas including Spegazzini’s species. Recently Pildain et al. (2014) and Baroni et al. (2018) have examined diversity of Morchella species in South America and the Caribbean using molecular methods. To better understand which Morchella species are being commercially harvested in Southern Chile, molecular markers were used to identify collections of morels being harvested and/or sold commercially and determine their phylogenetic relationships. Morels were sampled from collections in the Fungarium of the Fundación Fungi, Chile (FFCL) and batches purchased from commercial harvesters and bulk gatherers in 2015 and 2016. DNA sequence from the EF1a, RPB1, ITS and RPB2 were obtained and used for phylogenetic analyses. This study will contribute to the knowledge of morels in South America and help to understand their phylogenetic relationships with other Morchella species found worldwide.

Last updated on 07/29/2020