6th Phase (current)Carlos
The current phase of the project (MYXOTROPIC VI) started in January 2019 and will run through December 2021, with a focus on the study of the Andean salt flats in Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. These salt flats form in endorheic basins above 3000 m elevation. The climatic conditions are extreme and the high concentration of salts puts additional survival stress on the species found in these territories. In this phase a related group of amoeboid protists, the Arcellinida, have been added to the study of Myxomycetes. They are defined by their protective structures (testate amoebae) that enable them to survive dessication and predation. They are commonly found in soils, sediment, peat bogs and associated vegetation where their micro-predator life strategy complement that of the Myxomycetes. Understanding how living organisms can efficiently colonise these inhospitable environments, how they specialize and how species are distributed are some of the objectives of this sixth phase of the project.