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Grynig hjorttryffel (Elaphomyces granulatus Fr.)
Grynig hjorttryffel (Elaphomyces granulatus Fr.)
Photo: Anne Molia
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Truffles in Sweden

Research project
Active research
Project period
2019 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Short description

Hypogeously fruiting macrofungi, often referred as truffles, form their fruiting bodies below ground. They do not belong to a single systematic group. Hence, truffles must be regarded as an ecological group. They are important ectomycorrhizal symbionts of forest trees, and when ripe they emit a strong smell that attract animals as squirrels, mice, deer and wild boar that dig them up and spread the spores. We perform inventories with specially trained dogs in areas with an expected high species diversity, as deciduous forests on calcareous ground and coniferous forest with long continuity stands. Our aims are to provide a more complete picture of the species diversity of selected genera of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, and their ecological preferences.

Members

Ellen Larsson, BioEnv
Mikael Jeppson, BioEnv,
Anne Molia, Oslo Universitet

More about our project

Taxonomy and systematics of hypogeous fungi 

Fruiting below ground is a habit that has arisen repeatedly during the evolution. Truffles do not belong to a single systematic group, but are distributed amongst Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Glomeromycota. This means that hypogeous fungi are more closely related to various fungal genera forming above ground fruiting bodies than they are to other hypogeous genera. Even if the hypogeous fungi have a strongly deviating macromorphology compared to their above ground relatives, the heritage is often evident in colours and spore morphology. Phylogenetic analyses using molecular data support and confirm that hypogeous fungi have evolved from epigeously fruiting ancestors. Identified phylogenetically informative morphological characters are the colour and structure of the peridiopellis and the spore morphology. The colour of the gleba, as well as the changes in the emitted smell are associated with the maturation of the spores.

Expected outcome of the project: 

  • get an improved picture of what species of hypogeous fungi that occur in Sweden 
  • detect and identify species new to Sweden and Scandinavia 
  • identify and describe species new to science 
  • increase the knowledge of habitat preferences and geographical distribution ranges among the hypogeous species 
  • clarify the taxonomy of the genera selected for special attention in our study 
  • stabilize the use of species names 
  • contribute to "citizen science" by producing descriptions of species and identification tools 
  • make it possible to better evaluate hypogeous species for the red list 

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