Katie Jumper

Katie Jumper

Macrofungi of Serpentine and Granite Outcrops of Deer Isles, Maine

Through their mycorrhizal associations with roots, fungi are important as the primary mediators between plants and the soil.  Although much is known about the ways that soil chemistry affects plant growth and diversity, less is known about fungal diversity in relation to soil substrate.  I am investigating whether serpentine soils: soils created by the weathering of ultramafic bedrock, containing high levels of heavy metals and low levels of essential nutrients, are home to specific fungal communities able to tolerate the conditions.  Serpentine soils are known to be areas of high endemism and diversity in plants, so it is likely that fungal communities on this unique substrate will differ from the surrounding communities on granite-derived soils.  With two generous grants from the Garden Club of America, and in collaboration with Dr. Nishi Rajakaruna and Dr. David Porter at College of the Atlantic, I am documenting the fungal diversity on one serpentine and one granite quarry in the Deer Isles of Maine.  In addition, I will be looking at whether fungal fruiting bodies on serpentine soil will have accumulated higher levels of nickel and other metals in their tissues.  Toxic heavy metals in fungal tissues could be passed on to fungivorous invertebrates and animals, including humans, who eat wild edible species such as Cantharellus cibarius.  Because of the importance of fungi to forest ecosystems and their high exposure to all elements present in the soil, it is important to get a better picture of how fungi and soil chemistry interact.

See my CV here.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: