Diversity and Ecology of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi in the Western Ghats

  • Kandikere R. Sridhar
  • Namera C. Karun


Ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi being obligate mutualists of roots of several vascular plants have a major role in diversity, biogeography, erosion prevention, and biogeochemical cycles. Recent findings depict that the EM fungi have multifunctional roles in ecosystem processes leading to valuable ecosystem services. They are the main players in reclamation of degraded ecosystems based on their ability to develop stress tolerance, nutrient acquirement, and bioremediation. Although the Western Ghats has been recognized as an important hotspot of biodiversity in the tropics, studies on the EM fungi are fairly meager. This review is an attempt to consolidate the research on the EM fungi in different parts of the Western Ghats addressing their diversity, distribution, and ecology. A total of 148 species (34 genera) of EM fungi has been known from the Western Ghats. Inocybe is the dominant genus (36 spp.) followed by other genera Russula (31 spp.) and Amanita (13 spp.). The host trees that supported the EM fungi consist of 60 species (40 genera). Vateria indica showed the highest EM fungi (69 spp.) followed by Hopea ponga (50 spp.), Hopea parviflora (48 spp.), and Diospyros malabarica (37 spp.). Eight tree species of Dipterocarpaceae supported up to 77% of EM fungi, while 15 exotic trees supported only 20%. Up to 30 new EM fungi are known from the Western Ghats. Importance and association of EM fungi with hosts and future research directions are emphasized.


Mushrooms Mutualism Tree species Dipterocarpaceae Exotic trees New species Evolution Conservation 



The authors are grateful to Mangalore University for their support in carrying out macrofungal research in the Western Ghats in the Department of Biosciences. The award of UGC-BSR Faculty Fellowship by the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, is highly appreciated.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kandikere R. Sridhar
    • 1
  • Namera C. Karun
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiosciencesMangalore UniversityMangaloreIndia

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