Project(s) of GTI scholarship holder NDIRITU George Gatere

Compilation, analyses and identification of myxomycetes collections collected in Africa in the past

Grantee: NDIRITU George Gatere

Internship details

  • Years

    2012 and 2013

  • Training location

    Meise Botanic Garden

  • Belgian supervisor

    de Haan Myriam

  • Studied organism (classification)

    Protozoa – Mycetozoa – Myxomycetes

  • Reports

Myxomycetes are a small-sized monophyletic group of eukaryotic organisms with 850 to 890 species. They are found in all types of terrestrial ecosystems, where they are the primary bacterivores in soils and decaying plant material. Their grazing pressure on bacteria is suspected to unlock nutrients present in these bacteria, and thus enrich the soil. As such their role in maintaining the ecological processes cannot continue being overlooked.

Recent research findings suggest that strong interactions exist between vegetation and microorganisms; with others indicating microorganisms are responsible in large part for the current vegetation structure and composition in the tropics. Poverty in Africa is presently being worsened by factors and problems associated with dysfunctional and degraded environment. Systematics and taxonomy of myxomycetes are the bases of understanding the ecological role played by these organisms, hence the strong case to study and understand them.

Though myxomycetes studies and reports in the African continent are scarce, there are substantial collections of myxomycetes obtained in the continent since 1867 which are scattered over several herbaria across Europe. They are housed for the largest part in the National Botanic Garden of Belgium and to a lesser extent in the herbarium of Ghent University. This project intends to:

  1. make inquiries and visits to institutions where these collections are stored,
  2. compile data from these collections and identify them if they have not yet been verified,
  3. prepare and compose checklists of various ecosystems or countries, and
  4. update the African myxomycetes checklist on the web. With these data an overall view of the distribution of myxomycetes of the African continent can be established and information gaps identified.


Additional documentation

 Poster entitled “Fungus Flora of Tropical Africa, the Myxomycetes Volumes” presented at the 9th International Congress on the Systematics and Ecology of Myxomycetes, Japan 2017

 Poster entitled “More additions to the checklist of African myxomycetes” presented at the 8th International Congress on the Systematics and Ecology of Myxomycetes, China 2014

Scientific papers