On Tuesday 16 May 2023 a small team of researchers from the Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (University of Amsterdam) visited the Maashorst (Netherlands) to visited an area “re-wilded” with European Bison (Bison bonasus). In addition to the bison the area is also now home to Tauros and Exmoor Ponies The purpose of the trip was to collect soil surface samples to examine for dung fungal spores. Certain fungi grow only on the dung of herbivores and the spores of these fungi can be preserved in the sedimentary record (for more information see Lee et al., 2022). Analysis of dung fungal spore diversity through the sedimentary record can therefore provide insights into the changes in the amount of dung (animals) in the landscape in the past. The purpose of this sampling effort was to see if we can quantify how many, and what type, of spores are representative of this group of bison. This information will help us to be able to interpret ancient records of fungal spores in more detail.
Special thanks to Maurice van Doorn (Gemeente Maashorst) for showing us around.