Paper No. 9-52
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
FUNGI IN A WARMER WORLD: MIDDLE MIOCENE FUNGAL ASSEMBLAGES FROM ALUM BLUFF, FLORIDA
Fungi are necessary components of stable ecosystems worldwide because of their key roles in the terrestrial carbon cycle, formation of soils, and plant growth. As such, it is critically important to understand how fungal assemblages will react to future warming scenarios. One way to do this is to look at fossil fungal assemblages from the Miocene Climate Optimum (MCO), an analog for future climate changes, and predict how modern fungal assemblages will react. Here, we present a study of the fungal biodiversity found in sediments deposited during the MCO (15-18 MA) from the Fort Preston Formation exposed at Alum Bluff, Florida, USA. The paleoflora and paleofauna of this formation is well known, but this is the first study of stratigraphically constrained fungal occurrences. Overall, the fungal assemblages are low diversity, in which some are saprophytes, and others are soil fungi. This study is part of building the long-term, large-scale dataset needed to model past fungal assemblage changes and predict future fungal dynamics in response to climate change.