True Slime Molds: Big Thicket Myxomycetes in Aquatic Habitats

Posted by: Mona Halvorsen 4 years, 7 months ago


True Slime Molds: Big Thicket Myxomycetes in Aquatic Habitats

Written by Mary Catherine Johnston


Myxomycetes, one group of slime molds, are often found associated with dead or decaying plant material. Most research for slime mold biodiversity and ecology is based upon work conducted in terrestrial habitats with only a few reports documenting these organisms living in freshwater.

Dr. Katie Winsett from the University of Southern Indiana and Dr. Steve Stephenson from the University of Arkansas documented myxomycetes isolated from submerged plant material collected in the Big Thicket National Preserve with interesting results.

The study was recently published in Mycosphere, available online March 23, 2013 at  Samples of dead plant material were collected in freshwater habitats within 11 different management units of the Preserve. The moist chamber culture technique, commonly used for isolating myxomycetes, resulted in 14 species representing 12 genera. Five species were not previously recorded from any collections made over the last five years in the Big Thicket National Preserve. These data included one species, Diachea bulbillosa, that is considered a species New for the State of Texas.

The research conducted by Winsett and Stephenson suggest that submerged plant material may support species that could be missed if only terrestrial habitats are considered.

The project was made possible through funding from the Big Thicket Association, the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation, and the University Of Arkansas Department Of Biological Sciences.

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