Submitted to: Biodiversity and Conservation Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of the plant-associated fungi in North America is needed in order to make sound plant quarantine decisions especially with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This paper examines the possibility of increasing the information upon which these decisions can be made by synthesizing data from three different resources about fungi in the United States and Canada. Based on four different fungal groups and three vascular plant hosts it was determined that a substantial increase in information could be obtained by adding data from the database of herbarium specimens in the U.S. National Fungus Collections to that in a book on plant-associated fungi. It was also determined that about 80-90% of the plant-associated fungi reported from Canada are also known to occur in the United States. This study will be used by those developing the information resources upon which plant quarantine decisions are made.
Technical Abstract: At present knowledge of fungal biodiversity in North America is scattered in diverse sources ranging from well-reviewed, comprehensive databases to unedited databases of reports from the literature, information on file cards, and uncomputerized herbarium specimens. Resources available electronically were used to determine their relative importance in evaluating the plant-associated fungi known from the United States and to lesser extent Canada. The results demonstrate that the literature provides the greatest information but that herbarium specimens in the U.S. National Fungus Collections contribute between 22-31% additional data. Little overlap exists between fungi isolated as endophytes and those reported in the literature or as herbarium specimens. Eighty to 100% of the plant- associated fungi reported form Canada are accounted for in comprehensive resources for the United States. A comprehensive database of plant- associated fungi in Canada, the United States, and eventually Mexico would serve as a valuable resource for those making plant quarantine decisions.