Mushroom species previously unknown to science discovered in Scottish Highlands

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Researchers have made historic discoveries in the mountains of Scotland after a project brought together several organizations to team up and examine the rich soil in this northern region of the UK.

A team of volunteers from the organization Plantlife teamed up with the James Hutton Institute to examine soil samples from the area and found several species of fungi completely new to the UK.

One of the species is an arctic variety called “Amanita groenlandica” which is believed to be native to Greenland and Scandinavia. And another is called “Acrodontium antarcticum” which is said to have originated in Antarctica.

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

Even more amazing was the discovery of a species of fungus that was previously unknown to science. The mushroom belongs to the genus “Squamanita”.

The Scottish Highlands are said to be home to more species than any other landscape and the region stores 1/3 of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon.

Andrea Britton, ecologist at the James Hutton Institute, said: “Thanks to the hard work of the 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 begin to identify habitats. and locations are particularly important for the conservation of fungal diversity.

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

The researchers said more living organisms could be found in a single spoonful of soil than humans who live on planet Earth.

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