Marasmius cladophyllus. Humid highlands, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos
© S. Bates, Arizona State University
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Fungi are a large group of heterotrophic organisms, i.e., like animals they feed on organic material being unable to photosynthesize.
Like plants, almost all fungi have cell walls, but these typically contain chitin, not cellulose. Because of these cell walls, fungi feed on organic material through absorption; they cannot directly ingest extracellular material by phagocytosis.
Only one group, the Cryptomycota (or Rozellida), lacks cell walls and these fungi are thus capable of phagocytosis.
Fungi are ubiquitous organisms that play important ecological roles recycling detritus. They can also cause diseases as parasites, or live in symbiosis with other organisms.
The mutual relationship of myccorhizal fungi with plant roots typically increases inorganic nutrient uptake by the plant root. In return, the fungus receives sugars from its host plant.
Lichens are another classic example of symbiosis. These are fungi (mostly ascomycetes) that live closely together with cyanobacteria or green algae, often forming a complex thallus structurally analogous to a plant leaf. Thus, by harvesting sugars from photosynthetic partners the lichen-fungi evolved to occupy ecological niches similar to plants.
Galapagos Fungi are the least known of all organisms and our Checklist thus remains very incomplete. For three of the six divisions of true Fungi, not a single species is currently known. Even for the “better known” groups the checklists provided here not nearly represent the true diversity of species to be expected for this archipelago. The only better known group are the lichens with recent studies reporting almost three times as many of the originally-known species since 2005.
Editors: Frank Bungartz, Scott T. Bates.
Other Contributors: Franklin Arboleda, Xavier Arturo, Paul Cannon, Miguel Cueva, Ricardo Escobedo, Paul Gamboa, Teresa Iturriaga, Pablo Izquierdo, Mery Juiña, Ondina Landázuri, Ruth Llumiquinga, Leila López, Ximena Palomeque, Eliana Ramírez, Diego Reyes, Leif Ryvarden, Francisco Tobar, Adolfo Verdugo.
!There is currently no CDF Checklist information available for this taxonomic group. If you are a specialist in this group, we welcome your participation.
You are welcome to download and use this information acknowledging the origin of the data.
This list should be cited as follows: