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Drs. James C. Lendemer and Richard C. Harris with the Institute of Systemic Botany (The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York) discovered a new species of fungus at Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest.

The researchers discovered Acanthothecis paucispora while conducting a survey at Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest (BNS) in 2012. The species is known from two localities in the Chesapeake-Pamlico Lowlands and Tidal Marshes (Washington County) and Carolina Flatwoods (Jones County) Ecoregions of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain in North Carolina. At both localities it occurred on the bark of American holly (Ilex opaca). Bull Neck Swamp comprises some of the most lichenologically significant habitats remaining in Washington County, as well as some of the largest remaining undeveloped shoreline on the Albemarle Sound.

Considering that only two collections of this species have been made to date, it is likely that A. paucispora is rare and potentially threatened. Mature upland hardwood forests are particularly rare in the MACP (less than 12% or original habitat remains) due to the history of anthropogenic disturbance of swamp forests combined with the large scale conversion of uplands to agriculture and sylviculture. In North America A. paucispora is the only member of the genus with short, 4–5 celled ascospores.

For more information see: Lendemer, J. C., and R. C. Harris. 2014. Seven new species of Graphidae (Lichenized Ascomycetes) from the Coastal Plain of southeastern North America. Phytotaxa 189: 153-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.189.1.11

Aerial image

Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest

BNS is one of the largest remaining tracts of undeveloped private waterfront property on North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound. BNS covers 6,158 acres, including more than seven miles of rare, undisturbed shoreline and 2,317 acres of preserve. The preserves include 1,118 acres of Shoreline and Islands Preserve, 777 acres of Non-riverine Swamp Forest Preserve, 237 acres of Pond Pine Preserve, and 185 acres of Atlantic white-cedar Preserve. Bull Neck provides vital habitat for many wildlife species.

Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest

Acanthothecis paucispora.

North Carolina State University’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources acquired the tract in early 1996 through a series of grants from the Natural Heritage Trust Fund. The site is located on the Albermarle Sound in Washington County, N.C., approximately 18 miles east of Plymouth. Historically, the site was owned by numerous logging companies and logged extensively for Atlantic white-cedar. Efforts have focused on re-establishing Atlantic white-cedar on the property.

The Bull Neck Swamp tract consists of five community types including nonriverine swamp forest, peatland Atlantic white cedar, mesic mixed hardwood forest, tidal cypress gum swamp, and tidal freshwater marsh. The diversity and uniqueness of the tract makes it an ideal wetland research site and allows for various forestry and wildlife management options.

Recently, the The Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) Program established the Bull Neck Swamp Endowed Scholarship. The endowment will provide scholarships for a rising senior enrolled in the FWCB Program in the College of Natural Resources. Funds for the endowment were generated through timber sales and hunting leases at Bull Neck Swamp Research Forest.