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Distribution and ecology of myxomycetes in high-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere

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Abstract Aim

The objective of this study was to analyse the data represented by 1976 specimens of myxomycetes collected in high-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere to obtain information on the biogeographical relationships and patterns of occurrence of these organisms. The question of what factors limit myxomycete distribution in high-latitude and cold-dominated regions was also addressed. Location

Specimens of myxomycetes considered herein were collected from twelve study areas in Iceland, northern Russia and Alaska, and Greenland. The vast majority of specimens were collected during the period of 1989–98. Methods

Nine hundred and thirty-three specimens were recorded as field collections. In addition, 1043 specimens originated from moist chamber cultures prepared with 1453 substratum samples collected in the various study areas. From a database recording the type of substratum (wood, bark of living trees, litter or dung) for each specimen, patterns of substratum occurrence for particular species of myxomycetes in high-latitude regions were determined. Results

From the 150 species recorded for the twelve study areas, thirty-three were found to be widely distributed (recorded from at least five study areas), and only forty-one had a frequency of occurrence higher than 1% either in moist chambers or as field collections. These data were examined in an effort to identify possible factors limiting the distribution of myxomycetes in high-latitude regions. Main conclusions

Upon first inspection, the arctic and subArctic myxomycete biota seems to be a depauperate version of that of temperate and boreal regions. However, a few species elsewhere recorded as rare but found to be fairly common in this study indicate that a certain degree of distinctiveness exists in Arctic and subArctic myxomycetes.
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Keywords: Alaska; Arctic; Russia; biogeography; forest–tundra; myxomycetes; subArctic; tundra

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Fairmont State College, Fairmont, West Virginia 26554–2470, USA and 2: V.L. Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 197376 St Petersburg, Russia

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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