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Fungi species previously unknown to science discovered in the Scottish Highlands

Multiple other fungi species totally new to the UK were also found
Scottish Highlands
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 03, 2022

Researchers have made some historic finds in the mountains of Scotland after a project brought together multiple organizations to team up and examine the rich soil of that northern region of the United Kingdom.

A team of volunteers with the organization Plantlife teamed up with the James Hutton Instituteto examine soil samples from the area and found multiple fungi species that were totally new to the UK.

One of the species is an arctic variety called "Amanita groenlandica" believed to originally be from Greenland and Scandinavia. And another is called "Acrodontium antarcticum" believed to be from Antarctica, originally.

About 219 soil samples were taken by the hikers working on the project in Scotland's Cairngorms National Park in 2021, Plantlife said.

Even more astonishing was the discovery of a fungus species that was not known to science before. The fungus is from the "Squamanita" genus.

The Scottish Highlands are said to support more species than any other landscape and the area stores 1/3 of Earth's land carbon.

Andrea Britton, an ecologist at the James Hutton Institute said, “Thanks to the hard work of volunteers and scientists coming together, the data from this survey will add significantly to our knowledge of this vital group and can be used to start identifying which habitats and locations are particularly important for conservation of fungal diversity.”

Britton said, “Fungi are crucially important to the functioning of our alpine ecosystems, but because they are mostly hidden below ground, and because alpine ecosystems are remote and difficult to access, we know very little about the distribution and diversity of fungi in this iconic habitat.”

Researchers said that more living organisms could be found in just one spoonful of soil than humans that are living on planet Earth.