An MTSU professor who participated in the discovery of life never before documented in the annals of scientific research described her experience on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Sarah Bergemann, a professor of biology, first aired May 3 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
You can listen to their conversation via the SoundCloud link below.
Along with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, Bergemann collected hundreds of samples of fungi on the Polynesian island of Mo’orea, about 11 miles northwest of Tahiti, in 2008 and 2009.
After sequencing the DNA of 433 specimens, the scholars concluded that there probably are new species of fungi on the island that had never been recorded in any scientific data bank.
Given the island’s volcanic origin, this led to speculation about how the fungi came to be on the island. Bergemann said there are two possible sources.
“Fungi could get to that area in isolation by natural colonization, movement through the atmosphere or movement through the prevailing winds from continental land masses,” Bergemann said.
“They could also be moved by introductions. The Polynesians introduced plant and animal species to that particular island about 1,300 years ago. Subsequent introductions have involved the English and the French and now introductions from tourism and trade.”
The complete study was published in March 2022 in the “Journal of Biogeography.”
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to www.mtsunews.com and click “More” under “Audio Clips.”
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.
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