The rigorous study of processes shaping geographic distributions of lineages is a relatively new and emerging field in mycology. While it was previously generally believed that most fungi have wide distributions and largely unstructured populations, recent studies have shown that this is not the case. The study of distributions in tandem with molecular approaches to phylogeny has recently made substantial advances to our understanding of the diversity and biogeography of fungi. Comprehensive species inventories have provided a better picture of the actual distribution of these organisms, while robust phylogenies based on molecular characters have provided both data that allow interpretation of current distributions and testable hypotheses regarding the processes responsible for distribution patterns. This commentary provides an introduction to five papers in this issue of Mycological Research that focus on fungal phylogeography. These papers are based on oral contributions given at two symposia at the International Mycological Congress (IMC8) held in Cairns (Australia) in August 2006.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science