MBZ: Wrightoporia auraucariae

This project aims to collect important information about the fungus species (Wrightoporia araucariae) found on dead trunks of the Araucaria angustifolia tree in southern Brazil. The project seeks to better understand where this fungus species lives and how it is distributed, as well as to study its genetics and how to identify it molecularly. For this purpose, field expeditions will be made to collect samples of the fungus and cultivate them in the laboratory. The collected information will be disseminated in scientific journals, conference presentations, social media, and institutional websites. In addition, parts of the fungus will be preserved for long-term conservation. The project aims for both the conservation of the species and the generation of knowledge to assist in future studies and research.

It is important to highlight that the Wrightoporia araucariae fungus was collected in two protected areas in southern Brazil, the São Francisco de Paula National Forest and the São Joaquim National Park, on dead trunks of the native Araucaria angustifolia tree, which is found in a wide geographic area extending from northeastern Argentina, Paraguay, and southern and southeastern Brazil. It is important to note that this conifer species is of great importance for forests, but it has undergone unsustainable exploitation and a reduction in its distribution area for agricultural or forestry use.

Wrightoporia araucariae is considered “Critically Endangered,” and only five specimens collected from araucaria forests in southern Brazil are known. In addition, the conifer species with which the fungus is associated, Araucaria angustifolia, is also considered “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN due to unsustainable exploitation and a reduction in its distribution area. The remaining areas of Araucaria angustifolia are in degraded and fragmented conditions, many of them outside conservation units. Therefore, it is crucial to conserve both species and their associated habitat to avoid their extinction and preserve the biodiversity of the region.