The short term effect of heavy metal pollution on fungal diversity in sites at Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, Nigeria. – G. E. Arikpo, M. E. Eja, E. M. Ikpeme, L. B. Etim1 and U. A. Ofor
This study evaluates the short term effect of heavy metal pollution of soil, on fungal populations. The heavy metals consisted of cadmium, copper and aluminium whose salt solutions were first spilled on randomly selected soil sites, followed by microbiological and physicochemical analyses of soil samples from the polluted sites, using standard procedures. It was observed that the overall fungal populations were not significantly reduced (p>0.05) except the cadmium-polluted site which showed significantly higher populations (p<0.01) than aluminium or copper-polluted sites. Species richness (S) and species diversity (D) in the control site were respectively significantly higher (p<0.01) and (p<0.05) than any of the polluted sites over the period of monitoring. It is concluded that cadmium promotes the growth of fungal population while aluminium and copper have no effect on their growth although there was reduced species richness and species diversity in all the polluted sites, unlike the control, probably resulting from the adjustment of the fungal populations to the pollutants. Further research in this area is recommended.