Slime Molds and the City: Impact of Urban Buildings on Myxomycetes
Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz
Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science, and
Fungal Biodiversity, Ecogenomics & Systematics-metabolomics (FBeS) Group,
Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences,
University of Santo Tomas, España Blvd. 1015 Manila, Philippines
High-rise urban residential buildings are becoming common sights in many bustling Asian cities and metropolis. To make these buildings conducive as living quarters for humans, rooftop gardens are often built in both as aesthetic design and as green spaces. Plant litter from introduced vegetations in these areas could serve as microhabitats for myxomycetes. In our rapid survey of myxomycetes from 204 moist chamber cultures of ground leaf litter, we documented 14 species of myxomycetes belonging to nine genera. A similar number of species was also reported from our spore baits placed at different elevations along a high-rise residential building. All-in-all, we identified the following species, i.e., Arcyria cinerea, Arc. incarnata, Collaria arcyrionema, Comatricha alta, Com. nigra, Diachea leucopodia, Diderma effusum, Did. hemisphaericum, Didymium nigripes, Ddy. squamulosum, Ophiotheca chrysosperma, Perichaena cf. corticalis, Perichaena depressa, Physarum album, Phy. cinereum, Phy. diderma, Phy. leucophaeum, Stemonitis axifera, St. fusca and Stemonitis cf. pallida, as common myxomycete inhabitants of urban vegetations. The number of species is less than expected as our MC productivity reached only about 45%, implying that other species could still be identified. Our study also provided evidence of the presence of myxomycete spores even at an elevation of 150 meters above sea level, adding insights into the vertical dispersal of spores in urban cities. Finally, our study highlighted the need to look at urban green spaces as areas of microbial biodiversity as also observed with other organisms like insects.