Fungi are the grand recyclers of the planet and the vanguard species in habitat restoration, also play as interface organisms between life and death. Hence, preserving the fungal diversity is imperative to protecting the ecosystem functions, and Mycologists have made significant progress on illuminating the species occurrence, function and ecological relationships presently; but the bulk of fungal biodiversity is yet to be characterized on the earth.
To observe the diversity of fungal species in the Campus of Korambayil Ahamed Haji Memorial Unity Women’s College, Manjeri, Biodiversity Club in association with PG Department of Botany organized an experiential walk ‘Through Fungal Jungle of Unity Campus’ on 14th August 2023. The club members and First Semester M.Sc. Botany students were included in the campus walk and keenly observed the various fungal species located at different parts of the campus which bloomed after the heavy rains. The programme coordinated by Dr. Deepa P. (Assistant Professor Adhoc), Dr. Gouthami V. (Assistant Professor Adhoc) and Ayisha Febin P.N. (First Semester M.Sc. Botany) to collect and scientifically identify the diverse fungal species of the campus.
Fungi, the eukaryotic organisms, bloom in presence of soil moisture content and usually participate in decomposition of organic matter to deliver the nutrients for plant growth. The basic units of fungi (hyphae) and the intermingled mass of hyphae (mycelia) were observed on the partly decayed wet leaves and woody stem of the campus. The observed fruiting bodies of the fungi were with different colour, size and shape that mention the key features of the specific species; while all of them had a unique role in balancing of life cycle, the production of spores for hyphal regeneration. More species were detected on the humus present in the Rubber Plantation of the campus which maintains the most suitable environmental condition for fungal bloom during the rainy season. About 40 species of fungi were noticed and photographed by the students during the experiential walk which provided a better exposure to the students towards the campus biodiversity in the beginning of their academic life. The collected fungi was systematically identified by Dr. Adnaan Farook V., Assistant Professor, Mycology Division, Department of Botany, Farook College (Autonomous), Kozhikode.