Title page for ETD etd-10102005-095042

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Boshoff, Sanette
URN etd-10102005-095042
Document Title A taxonomic study of Southern African hyphomycetes
Degree PhD (Botany)
Department Botany
Advisor Name Title
Prof A Eicker
  • hyphomycetes Africa southern biology classificatio
Date 2002-09-01
Availability unrestricted
From May 1994 until the end of August 1994, pieces of decomposing wood and twigs were collected from different locations in the Northern Cape Province, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and in the Western Cape. Fifty-nine taxa were recorded (one new genus, one new species and 43 new records from southern Africa).

This study reviews the development of the taxonomy of the mitosporic fungi, in particular the Huyphomycetes, makes some comments on the structure-function relationships and functional diversity that occur and describes a large number of new Hyphomycete records for southern Africa.

The classification of these micro-fungi has been controversial since inception. As the asexual phase of a sexually reproducing organism (the ascomycete or basidiomycete states), the taxonomy is covered by a dualistic nomenclature whidh is an exception of Principle IV (one organism: one name) of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). Alth9ough the role of morphological features in the development of anamorph taxonomic theory has evolved as microscopic image technology has advanced, inadequately defined characters, obscure distinctions between morphologically similar species and a weak theoretical base undermine the usefulness of this system. Molecular systematic studies are yielding a wealth of new fungal taxonomic characters. Molecular technology can generate the data required to verify phylogenetic relationships in this artificial classification system, but is subject of the constraints of time, money and expertise. Neither morphological nor molecular based taxonomy is inherently superior. The utilitarian aspect of morphological systematics, in fact, is the great advantage over molecular methods. However, from the viewpoint of applied mycology, the biochemical profiles of these organisms offer the most useful identification system. The taxonomic significance of the results from such investigations and their contribution to a better understanding of the complex situation are undeniable.

All earlier views and systems were based on the knowledge and technology available at that time. Current students of this group can similarly only base their views and proposals on the information available. Current knowledge is advanced to what was known then. This will also be true about today’s concepts and those still to come. The now redundant systems were created to serve science and not because of human inadequacies. The nature of these fungi dictates to scientists an arbitrary species concept and user-friendly taxonomic systems. Various opinions about terms, and especially the conidiogenic processes, appear to be confusing, but led to a functional, although phylogenetically inadequate, system. What Kananaskis could not do for phylogenetics, it did for standardization of terms.

© 2002 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Boshoff, S 2002, A taxonomic study of southern African hyphomycetes, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10102005-095042/ >


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