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Tropical Fungi

Cacao pathogens


Currently, about 100,000 species of fungi have been described, while estimates for the total number of species go as high as 5.1 million and upwards. Tropical rainforest ecosystems are woefully underexplored for fungi even though they are predicted to harbor much of that undescribed diversity. In an effort to document this diversity before it dissapears, we have been exploring tropical rainforests for 15 years, conducting field work throughout tropical South and Central America, Africa, and the South Pacific, including a longterm project consisting of 15 years of more or less consecutive sampling in the western Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana. In the single ecosystem in Guyana where we have focused—a tropical rainforest primarily composed of the ectomycorrhizal tree Dicymbe corymbosa—we have tallied more than 1000 species of Fungi, mostly saprobic Basidiomycota, the majority of which are previously undescribed. Some of the more novel fungi of these tropical ecosystems have led to more expansive projects including studying the biology and ecology of the recently described fungus Guyanagaster necrorhizus and the reproductive biology and pathogenesis of the cacao pathogen, Moniliophthora rorei

Guyana rainforest 

Traveling by donkey in Ecuador

Traveling by helicoptor in Belize: signalling the 'coptor as a hurricane rolls in

Traveling by Cessna in Guyana

Fermenting cacao seeds in Nigeria

Guyana 2012: Leonard William, Francino Edmond, Luciano Edmund, Rachel Koch, Cathie Aime, Chris Andrew

Guyana bush camp

2016 team, Dja forest, Cameroon (photo: Bryn Dentinger)

Dja forest, Cameroon (photo: Bryn Dentinger)

New Genera of Tropical Fungi:


Toome & Aime


Toome & Aime


Albu, Toome & Aime


T.W. Henkel, Aime, & M.E. Sm.


Sanchez-Garcıa, T.W. Henkel & Aime

Jimtrappea T.W. Henkel, M.E. Sm. & Aime

 Select Publications


  • Aime MC, Baroni TJ, Miller OK. 2002. Crepidotus thermophilus comb. nov., a reassessment of Melanomphalia thermophila, a rarely collected tropical agaric. Mycologia 94:1059–1065.

  • Aime MC, Brearley FQ. 2012. Tropical fungal diversity: closing the gap between species estimates and species discovery. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:2177–2180. doi 10.1007/s10531-012-0338-7

  • Aime MC, Largent DL, Henkel TW, Baroni TJ. 2010. The Entolomataceae of the Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana IV: new species of CallidermaParaeccilia and Trichopilus. Mycologia 102:633–649. doi: 10.3852/09-162

  • Aime MC, Phillips-Mora W. 2005. The causal agents of witches’ broom and frosty pod rot of cacao (chocolate, Theobroma cacao) form a new lineage of Marasmiaceae. Mycologia 97:1012–1022. doi: 10.3852/mycologia.97.5.1012

  • Aime MC, Ryvarden L, Henkel TW. 2007. Studies in Neotropical polypores 22: Additional new and rare species from Guyana. Synopsis Fungorum 23:15–31.

  • Diaz-Valderrama JR, Nguyen HDT, Aime MC. 2017. Wallemia peruviensis sp. nov., a new xerophilic fungus from an agricultural setting in South America. Extremophiles 21:1017–1025.  doi: 10.1007/s00792-017-0960-0

  • Guzman-Davalos L, Pradeep CK, Vrinda KB, Manoj Kumar A, Herrera M, Villalobos-Arambula AR, Soytong K, Baroni TJ, Aime MC. 2017. A new stipitate species of Crepidotus from India and Thailand with notes on other tropical species. Mycologia 109:804–814. doi: 10.1080/00275514.2017.1401834

  • Haelewaters D, Schoutteten N, Medina-van Berkum P, Martin TE, Verbeken A, Aime MC. 2021. Pioneering a fungal inventory at Cusuco National Park, Honduras. Journal of Mesoamerican Biology 1(1): 111-131. [pdf]

  • Haelewaters D, Stallman JK, Henkel TW, Aime MC. 2022.  Molecular phylogenetic analyses and micromorphology reveal placement of the enigmatic tropical discomycete Polydiscidium in Sclerococcum (Sclerococcales, Eurotiomycetes). Mycologia 114: 626-641. doi: 10.1080/00275514.2022.204862

  • Henkel TW, Aime MC, Chin MML, Miller SL, Vilgalys R, Smith ME. 2012. Ectomycorrhizal fungal sporocarp diversity and discovery of new taxa in Dicymbe monodominant forests of the Guiana Shield. Biodiversity and Conservation 21:2195–2220. doi: 10.1007/s10531-011-0166-1

  • Henkel TW, Smith ME, Aime MC. 2010. Guyanagaster, a new wood-decaying sequestrate genus of Agaricales from the Guiana Shield. American Journal of Botany 97:1474–1484. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1000097

  • Husbands DR, Aime MC. 2018. Emerging forest diseases: A case study of Greenheart (Chlorocardium spp., Lauraceae) and the newly described fungus, Xylaria karyophthora. Forests 9:365.  doi: 10.3390/f9060365

  • Husbands DR, Urbina H, Lewis SM, Aime MC. 2018. Xylaria karyophthora: A new seed-inhabiting fungus of Greenheart from Guyana. Mycologia 110: 434447.  doi: 10.1080/00275514.2018.1457349​

  • Jumbam  B, Haelewaters D, Koch RA, Dentinger BTM, Henkel TW, Aime MC. 20019. A new and unusual species of Hericium (Basidiomycota: Russulales, Hericiaceae) from the Dja Biosphere Reserve, Cameroon. Mycological Progress 18: 1253-1262. doi: 10.1007/s11557-019-01530-1

  • Koch RA, Brann M, Aime MC. 2022. Viability of fungal rhizomorphs used in bird nest construction in tropical rainforests. Symbiosis: doi: 10.1007/s13199-022-00856-x

  • Koch RA, Liu J, Brann M, Jumbam B, Siegel N, Aime MC. 2020. Marasmioid rhizomorphs in bird nests: species diversity, functional specificity and new species from the tropics. Mycologia 112: 1086-1103. doi: 10.1080/00275514.2020.1788892

  • Koch RA, Lodge DJ, Sourell S, Nakasone K, McCoy AG, Aime MC. 2018. Tying up loose threads: revised taxonomy and phylogeny of an avian-dispersed Neotropical rhizomorph-forming fungus. Mycological Progress 17:989–998. doi: 10.1007/s11557-018-1411-8

  • Laraba I, Kim HS, Proctor RH, Busman M, O’Donnell K, Felker FC, Aime MC, Koch RA, Wurdack KJ. 2020. Fusarium xyrophilum sp. nov., a member of the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex recovered from pseudoflowers on yellow-eyed grasses (Xyris spp.) from Guyana. Mycologia 112:39–51. doi: 10.1080/000275514.2019.1668991

  • Laraba I, McCormick SP, Vaughan MM, Proctor RH, busman M, Appell M, O’Donnell K, Felker FC, Aime MC, Wurdack KJ. 2020. Pseudoflowers produced by Fusarium xyrophilum on yellow-eyed grass (Xyris spp.) in Guyana: a novel floral mimicry system? Fungal Genetics and Biology 144: doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2020.103466

  • Largent DL, Henkel TW, Siegel N, Koch RA, Sene O, Hageman KM, Aime MC. 2019. New species of Entolomataceae from Cameroon. Fungal Systematics and Evolution 5: 151-167. doi: 10.3114/fuse.2020.05.10

  • Liu J, Haelewaters D, Pfliegler WP, Page RA, Dick CW, Aime MC. 2020. A new species of Gloeandromyces from Ecuador and Panama revealed by morphology and phylogenetic reconstruction, with a discussion of secondary barcodes in Laboulbeniomycetes taxonomy.  Mycologia in press.  doi: 10.1080/00275514.2020.1781496

  • Lodge DJ, Padamsee M, Matheny PB, Aime MC, Cantrell SA, Boertmann D, Kovalenko A, Vizzini A, Dentinger BTM, Kirk PM, Ainsworth AM, Moncalvo J-M, Vilgalys R, Larsson E, Lücking R, Griffith GW, Smith ME, Norvell LL, Desjardin DE, Redhead SA, Ovrebo CL, Lickey EB, Ercole E, Hughes KW, Courtecuisse R, Young A, Binder M, Minnis AM, Lindner DL, Ortiz-Santana B, Haight J, Læssøe T, Baroni TJ, Geml J, Hattori T. 2014. Molecular phylogeny, morphology, pigment chemistry and ecology in Hygrophoraceae (Agaricales). Fungal Diversity 64:1–99.  doi: 10.1007/s13225-013-0259-0

  • Matheny PB, Aime MC, Bougher N, Buyck B, Desjardin D, Horak E, Kropp B, Lodge DJ, Soytong K, Trappe JM, Hibbett DS. 2009. Out of the Paleotropics? Historical biogeography and diversification of the cosmopolitan ectomycorrhizal mushroom family Inocybaceae. Journal of Biogeography 36:577–592. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2008.02055.x

  • Matheny PB, Aime MC, Smith ME, Henkel TW. 2012. New species of Inocybe associated with Dicymbe in Guyana. Kurtziana 37:23–39.

  • Miller SL, Aime MC, Henkel TW. 2012.  Russulaceae of the Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana 2. New species of Russula and Lactifluus. Mycotaxon 121: 233-253. doi: 10.5248/121.233

  • Ovrebo CL, Lodge DJ, Aime MC. 2011. A new Cantharocybe from Belize with notes on the type of Cantharocybe gruberi. Mycologia 103:1102–1109. doi: 10.3852/10-360

  • Sánchez-García M, Henkel TW, Aime MC, Smith ME, Matheny PB. 2016. Guyanagarika, a new ectomycorrhizal genus of Agaricales from the Neotropics. Fungal Biology 120: 1540-1553. DOI 10.1016/j.funbio.2016.08.005

  • Smith ME, Henkel TW, Aime MC, Fremier AK, Vilgalys R. 2011. Ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity and community structure on three co-occurring leguminous canopy tree species in a Neotropical rainforest.  New Phytologist 192:699–712. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03844.x

  • Toome M, Aime MC. 2014. Pycnopulvinus aurantiacus gen. et sp. nov.—a new member of Pucciniomycotina from Ecuador.  Mycokeys 8:43-50. doi: 10.3897/mycokeys.8.7676

  • Toome M, Roberson R, Aime MC. 2013. Meredithblackwellia eburnea gen. et sp. nov., Kriegeriaceae fam. nov. and Kriegeriales ord. nov—toward resolving higher-level classification in Microbotryomycetes.  Mycologia 105:486–495. doi: 10.3852/12-251

  • Vega FE, Simpkins A, Aime MC, Posada F, Peterson SW, Rehner SA, Infante F, Castillo A, Arnold AE. 2010. Fungal endophyte diversity in coffee plants from Colombia, Hawai’i, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  Fungal Diversity 3:122–138. doi: 10.1016/j.funeco.2009.07.002

  • Wilson AW, Aime MC, Dierks J, Mueller GM, Henkel TW. 2012. Cantharellaceae of Guyana I: new species, combinations and distribution records of Craterellus and a synopsis of known taxa. Mycologia 104:1466–1477. doi: 10.3852/11-412



Night Microscopy

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