Trichaptum sp. nov. ‘fissile’ is a species of lignicolous fungi currently known only from the mangrove forests of Santa Catarina Island, but it is expected to be widespread throughout mangrove forests along the south-eastern and north-eastern Atlantic coast of Brazil. The total population size is estimated at up to 30,000 mature individuals, distributed across approximately 300 sites. The species is being negatively impacted by ongoing stressors to mangrove forests and its population size is estimated to further decline by at least 30% in the next 30 years, driven mainly by habitat loss due to sea-level rise as a result of climate change, as well as deforestation for the expansion of shrimp farming and urban development. It is assessed as Vulnerable.
Herbarium specimens belonging to the species were originally identified as T. byssogenum and T. biforme; however Trichaptum fissile differs from these species by having larger spores and two kinds of cystidia. The publication where it is described as a new species has been submitted. MycoBank MB 834858.
Trichaptum fissile is a beautiful and conspicuous polypore from the mangroves of Santa Catarina Island, Southern Brazil. It is assessed as VU under criterion A3c.
Trichaptum sp. nov. ‘fissile’ is currently known only from the mangrove forests of Santa Catarina Island, Florianópolis, southern Brazil, but it is expected to be widespread throughout the mangrove forests in the south-eastern and north-eastern Atlantic coast of Brazil.
Trichaptum sp. nov. ‘fissile’ is currently known from 4 sites and 45 collections in Santa Catarina Island, southern Brazil, where the species is relatively common. It is expected to occur in the small fragmented mangrove forests distributed along the south-eastern and north-eastern Atlantic coast of Brazil. There are an estimated 300 sites, each potentially supporting an average of 100 mature individuals. Therefore, the total population size is estimated at up to 30,000 mature individuals. The population is thought to be declining and is projected to decline by at least 30-40% in the next 30 years, driven mainly by habitat loss due to sea-level rise caused by climate change and deforestation caused by the expansion of shrimp farming and urban expansion.
Population Trend: Decreasing
The species is saprobic and lignicolous. Currently it is known only from mangrove forests. It has been recorded on Avicennia schaueriana and Laguncularia racemosa plus there are a few records on Schinus terebinthifolius adjacent to the mangrove species, up to 200m away.
Awareness on mangrove importance and the necessity for conservation of this biome has largely increased in the last decades. In fact, 87% of the ecosystem in Brazil is within conservation units (ICMBIO 2018). Still, mangroves have lost more than 25% of their original area in the country, and Brazil’s population is heavily concentrated in coastal areas. Many mangrove areas have been destroyed due to urban growth. Mangrove areas near cities are usually under heavy pollution and other stress factors. Shrimp farming poses the highest short-term threat to mangrove forests, especially in Brazil’s north-east, as large areas are being cleared and converted to shrimp farming tanks, and chemical spills damage even adjacent remaining mangroves. According to the Brazilian Mangrove Atlas (2018), 36,000 ha of mangrove forests have been converted to shrimp farms between the years 2013 and 2016.
Additionally, mangroves are one of the fastest changing environments in face of climate change (Loarie et al. 2009). Due to rising sea-levels, mangroves migrate inland, however, that is only possible when changes occur slowly enough and when there are appropriate conditions (Mcleod et al. 2006). In areas already occupied by roads, agricultural fields, urbanization, etc., and areas where the topography is not adequate, mangroves will not survive the rising sea-levels.
About 87% of Brazil’s mangrove areas are in conservation units. However many mangroves are in urban areas or in river basins affected by human activities, especially pollution by sewage or heavy metals from industrial activities. Regulations of, and improvements to, water treatment systems are needed to maintain the health of mangroves.
Also, enforcement of regulations of the establishment of, and effluent treatment from, shrimp farms are needed to reduce further damage. Restoration of abandoned shrimp farms back into mangroves could help mitigate the damage done.
Research is needed to better understand the species’ potential distribution, its ecology, and the influence of anthropogenic activities such as pollution on its biology.
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