Botanic Garden Meise

 Research

Fungi

Contact: J. Degreef

Other researchers: A. Bogaerts, A. De Kesel, A. Fraiture, J. Rammeloo

Studies on the fungal flora of Western Europe

From the very early years of its existence, members of staff were interested in Belgian fungi. After Mrs E. Bommer & E. Rousseau, Elie Marchal was the first official mycologist (after 1882) to work on coprophilous species. P. Nypels (1865-1909) studied parasitic species. All existing data were summarised by De Wildeman in his monumental 'Prodrome de la flore de Belgique' (1898, 1899). The genera Ganoderma and Agaricus have been revised resp. by R.L. Steyaert (1905-1978) and P. Heinemann (1916-1996).

Key publications

  • Fraiture A. (1996) L'activité et les collections mycologiques du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique (BR). Les Naturalistes belges 77: 74-79.

These studies are developed following several themes:

  • Systematics, ecology and floristics of different groups of fungi

· Laboulbeniales (A. De Kesel)

· Amanita, Lactarius, ... (A. Fraiture)

The study of the Laboulbeniales at the Garden has been initiated by J. Rammeloo. The Belgian flora and fundamentals of host specificity of these micromycetes, parasitic on insects, has been intensively studied by A. De Kesel for his PhD. He screened the main Belgian insect collections for Laboulbeniales and studied these in detail. All these floristic data were coupled with the ecology and behaviour of the insect and infection mechanisms experimentally tested.

Key publications

De Kesel A. (1989) Ontogeny of Laboulbenia slackensis (Laboulbeniales, Ascomycetes). Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belg. 122: 37-46.

De Kesel A. (1995) Population dynamics of Laboulbenia clivinalis Thaxter (Ascomycetes, Laboulbeniales) and sex-related thallus distribution on its host Clivina fossor (Linnaeus, 1758) (Coleoptera, Carabidae). Bull. Annls Soc. r. belge Ent. 131: 335-348.

De Kesel A. (1996) Relative importance of direct and indirect infection in the transmission of Laboulbenia slackensis (Ascomycetes, Laboulbeniales). Belgian Journal of Botany 128: 124-130.

De Kesel A. (1996) Host specificity and habitat preference of Laboulbenia slackensis. Mycologia 88: 565-573.

De Kesel A. (1998) Identification and host-range of the genus Laboulbenia in Belgium. Sterbeeckia 18:13-31.

Different contributions have been published a.o. on the systematics of European exannulate Amanita ('amanitopsis'), on the systematics and ecology of the genus Lactarius in Belgium, and other genera.

Fraiture A. (1993) Les amanitopsis d'Europe (genre Amanita, Agaricales, Fungi) - Synthèse critique de la littérature. Opera Bot. Belg. 5: 1-128.

Fraiture A. & Vanholen B. (2000) Coprinus strossmayeri et ses synonymes. Bull. trim. Soc. mycol. France 116 (1): 1-18.

Fraiture A. (éd.) ("1998", 1999) Systematics and ecology of the Macromycetes. Proceedings of the Paul Heinemann Memorial Symposium, held at Meise, November 29, 1997. Belg. Journ. Bot. 131 (2): 65-288.

Neville P., Poumarat S. & Fraiture A. (2000) Una nuova specie europea di Amanita, sezione Vaginatae : Amanita ochraceomaculata. Boll. Gr. Micol. G. Bresad. (Trento) 43 (2): 261-268.

  • Mycological diversity of the Brussels Capital Region

(A. De Kesel, B. Vanholen)

An inventory and monitoring programme for macromycetes and lichens in the Brussels Capital Region has been started. This concerned mainly the forest 'Zoniënwoud', where forest management policies based on presence-absence and abundance of macromycete fungi have been elaborated. A study was made to search for macromycetes useful as bioindicators for broad scale estimation of environmental quality of forest plots. Lichens have been mapped for the whole Brussels Capital Region and their distribution related to air quality.

Key publications

De Kesel A. (1998): Monitoring van de mycoflora en methodologie voor het inschatten van de natuurwaarde van bospercelen in het Zoniënwoud en het Laarbeekbos: 67-85. In Van Goethem J. (ed.): Kwaliteit van het leefmilieu en biodiversiteit in het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest: inventarisatie en opvolging van de flora en de fauna. Studiedocumenten van het Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen nr. 93.

De Kesel A. & Vanholen B. (2000): Een woud vol paddestoelen aan de rand van Brussel. Themanummer Natuur & Stad. De Levende Natuur 6: 207-208.

Vanholen B. & De Kesel A. (1999) De studies van de mycoflora en de lichenen van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest. Jaarboek van de Vlaamse Mycologen Vereniging 4: 21-25.

Vanholen B., De Kesel A. & Fraiture A. (2001): Inventarisatie en monitoring van de mycoflora en de lichenen van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Eindrapport mycologische werkgroep. Intern rapport Nationale Plantentuin van België/Brussels Instituut voor Milieubeheer: 56 p + CD-ROM.

  • Mycosociological studies of different forest types in southern Belgium

(A. Fraiture, phD thesis in preparation)

The macrofungi of permanent plots have been regularly investigated and their abundance and ecology registered. The forest types that have been mostly studied are Quercus+Carpinus forests on calciferous clay, Quercus+Betula forests on acid soils, Fagus forests on acid soils and Picea abies forests on various kind of soils.

Key publications

Albert Th. & Fraiture A. ("1998", 1999) Recherches mycocoenologiques au Bois de Lauzelle (Ottignies - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgique). Belg. Journ. Bot. 131 (2): 225-236.

  • Floristics, chorology and conservation of macromycetes in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Many floristic data have been accumulated and floristic notes published. Also over 150 distribution maps have been published. (A. Fraiture, A. De Kesel, J. Rammeloo).

Key publications

De Kesel A. (1998) Towards a method for attributing preliminary threat categories to macromycetes of Flanders (Belgium) Belg. Journ. Bot. 131 (2): 244-250.

Fraiture A. (1997) Contribution à la connaissance de la mycoflore du district lorrain. Champignons observés lors du stage de Clairefontaine (18-22 septembre 1996). Natura Mosana 50 (2): 39-53.

Fraiture A. ("2000", 2001) Contribution à la connaissance de la mycoflore du district ardennais. Champignons observés lors du stage du Mont Rigi (9-13 septembre 1998). Natura Mosana 53 (3): 77-105.

Fraiture A., Heinemann P., Monnens J. & Thoen D. (translation into dutch by Rammeloo J.) (1995) Distributiones Fungorum Belgii et Luxemburgi, fasc. 2. Scripta Bot. Belg. 12, 136 p.

Heinemann P. & Thoen D. (1981) Distributiones Fungorum Belgii et Luxemburgi, 1. Jardin botanique national de Belgique. 16 + 80 p.

  • Realization of an iconotheque (water-colour paintings) of the macromycetes, mainly Basidiomycetes

(O. Van de Kerckhove).

  • Expertise of wood-decaying fungi in buildings

(A. Fraiture and J. Rammeloo).

Studies on the fungal flora of Central Africa

The first studies of African mycology at the Garden were those of E. De Wildeman & Th. Durand (1899-1914). These were based on fieldwork by several collectors (e.g. A. Dewèvre, H. Vanderyst, Allard) and the determinations of several specialists. They described more than 450 taxa, 400 of which are new to science. The first to start with a more systematic study was M. Beeli (1879-1957). He encouraged Mrs Goossens-Fontana to collect many specimens (from 1900 onwards). These were very well documented and accompanied by water-colour paintings (more than 900). This remains an invaluable source of documentation. All these efforts culminated in the publication of the 'Flore Iconographique des champignons du Congo', later 'Flore illustrée des champignons d'Afrique centrale'. Working most of his active life in Africa, R.L. Steyaert was mainly interested in phytopathology and he specialised in Pestalotia, Monocaetia and Ganoderma. More recently J. Rammeloo (from 1972 onwards) continued the research on Central African fungi, in collaboration with P. Heinemann and many other specialists.

Key publications

Flore iconographique des champignons du Congo: 16 volumes

Fraiture A. (1996) L'activité et les collections mycologiques du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique (BR). Les Naturalistes belges 77: 74-79.

Rammeloo J. (edit). Flore illustrée des champignons d'Afrique Centrale: 17 volumes.

Staff members have actively collected and studied macromycetes south of the Sahara (Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Bénin). This in situ collecting, with extensive descriptions and photographs of the macromycetes is very important for taxonomic and systematic studies and for the 'Flore Illustrée de champignons d'Afrique Centrale'. Special attention is paid to ectomycorrhizal taxa.

Much attention has been paid to ethnomycological aspects. These studies aim to record, accumulate and disperse African indiginous knowledge. Indeed, macromycetes play often an important role in the diet of the local people. The results of the validation of these non-timber forest products can contribute to a better use of macromycetes and the ecosystems in which they thrive.

Key publications

De Kesel, A., Codjia, J.C. & Nourou Yorou, S. (2000) Connaissances ethnomycologiques.

Rammeloo J. & Walleyn R. (1993) The edible fungi of Africa south of the Sahara: a literature survey. Scripta Botanica Belgica 5.

Walleyn, R. & Rammeloo J. (1994) The poisonous and useful fungi of Africa south of the Sahara: a literature survey. Scripta Botanica Belgica 10.

Studies concerning relations between forest type and regeneration aim to contribute to the better knowledge of macromycete biodiversity in different types of Sudanian and/or Zambezian woodlands (forêt claires, miombo, savanna woodland).

These studies are conducted in reference plots in Benin (West Africa) and enable workers to evaluate various effects of biotic and abiotic factors on qualitative and quantitative aspects of the ectomycorrhizal mycoflora associated with different trees. Topics also include the relationships between mycosociology and phytosociology and macromycete biomass production.

Key publications

De Kesel A. & Nourou Yorou S. (2000) Etude préliminaire des macromycètes associés aux forêts claires du Nord Bénin (Afrique de l'Ouest). Scripta Bot. Belg. 20: 26 (abstract).

Yorou S.N., De Kesel A., Sinsin B. & Codjia J.C. (2001) Diversité et productivité des champignons comestibles de la forêt classée de Wari Maro (Bénin, Afrique de l'Ouest). Syst. Geogr. Pl. 71: 13p.

Mellon Foundation project 2006: Digitisation of the water colour drawings and slides of African Fungi kept at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium (A.Bogaerts)

This project aimed to digitise the watercolour drawings of macromycetes, and slides of groups that had been studied in detail (and in most cases published). Besides the resource in the Meise herbarium there are very few resources of images of well studied specimens. The need for a good iconography is extremely high, not only for African countries but for all mycologists working on macromycetes especially in tropical regions of the world. The project participated to the repatriation of scientific data originating from Africa which are kept in an institution in the north.

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