While some researchers look for new species in such exotic places as the deep sea, tropical regions, or extreme environments, a team headed by Tufts researchers turned their attention towards nests of an invasive paper wasp. What they found was a new species of fungus.
Philip T. Starks, associate professor of biology at the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, and doctoral student Anne A. Madden published their discovery in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The news appeared online September 19, 2011, in advance of print.
"We found the fungus in a wasp nest near the dumpsters at Tufts University," says Madden, of the discovery. The research team set out to explore a new environment for novel species of bacteria and fungi—single-celled organisms that inhabit most places in the world. Despite there being more bacterial species in the world than stars in the sky, scientists have only described approximately 10 percent of the species thought to exist, says Madden.
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