Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Los hongos de la estación lluviosa de la vertiente del Caribe en Monteverde, Costa Rica



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Publication Date

August 2008


Despite its small size, Costa Rica harbors high fungal diversity. Although very little is known about fungi, they are beneficial to humans in the medicinal field and are also known to be important recyclers of nutrients in ecosystems. Their importance in our lives justifies further research concerning fungal communities. The purpose of our study is to investigate the community composition and species richness in a lower montane rain forest on the Caribbean slope at Monteverde, Costa Rica. Between the range of 1550 m and 1850 m, we recorded abundance of different morphological forms, substrate types and also compared species richness to canopy coverage, elevation, and pH level. A total of 40 morphospecies were found, of which 50% were toadstools. Additionally, 55% were found growing on soil substrates. We found no substantial correlation between canopy cover and species richness. There was a statistically significant trend for lower species richness at higher elevations (Spearman Rank Test, Rho = -0.80, p = 0.03, n = 7), and a nearly significant trend for greater species richness with increasing pH levels (Spearman Rank Test, Rho = -0.70, p = 0.08, n = 7). We found that as distance between transects increased, there was a trend for lowered similarity in fungal species composition (Spearman Rank Test, Rho = 0.36, p = 0.11, n = 21). Variability in Caribbean slope fungal communities is most likely caused by differences in abiotic (e.g. temperature, soil pH, wind, light availability) and biotic factors. Different tree communities and/or volcanic conditions of the area may control these factors. A pesar de su pequeño tamaño, Costa Rica alberga una diversidad alta de hongos. Aunque se sabe muy poco acerca de los hongos, se sabe que son beneficiosos para los seres humanos en el campo de la medicina y son conocidos también por ser importantes recicladoras de nutrientes en los ecosistemas. Su importancia en nuestras vidas justifica más investigacion con respecto a las comunidades de los hongos. El propósito de este estudio es investigar la composición de la comunidad y la riqueza de especies en un bosque lluvioso montano bajo en la vertiente del Caribe en Monteverde, Costa Rica.


Fungal communities, Comunidades de hongos, Forest fungi, Hongos del bosque, Fungi--Variation, Hongos--Variación, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde, CIEE Summer 2006, CIEE Verano 2006


Student affiliations : Department of Environmental Science, University of Colorado at Boulder and Department of Geography, University of Minnesota Born Digital

Subject: topical

Fungal communities; Comunidades de hongos; Forest fungi; Hongos del bosque; Fungi--Variation; Hongos--Variación; CIEE Summer 2006; CIEE Verano 2006

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde



Holding Location

Monteverde Institute MVI



Wet season macrofungi of the Caribbean slope in Monteverde, Costa Rica



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