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Project Rational

Fungi play critical roles in the functioning of healthy ecosystems
driving nutrient cycling
providing food for a variety of wildlife
maintaining the health of plants and
sequestering carbon into soils.
However, fungi are one of the least studied groups of organisms in Australia.
The total estimated number of fungi occurring in Australia is at around 250,000 species with only about 5% described so far. Fungi are often not considered in fauna and flora surveys, and mycology as a degree has not been provided in Australian universities since the 70s. Yet fungi are primary indicators of ecosystem health and offer tremendous solutions to pollution clean-up, ecological restoration, food security and climate change.

Citizen Scientist Training

study, research and contribute data on the taxonomy and ecosystem function of fungi
raise awareness about the benefits of mycology (the studying of fungi)
make this science easily accessible to the Queensland community

Field and laboratory skills

collection of species
data collection and recording
experimental applications of beneficial fungi in the field and nurseries
product development using fungi

Fungal study techniques

isolation of fungi from decaying wood and plants
culturing techniques

Gills of button mushroom viewed through a digital microscope

Experimental methodologies

hypothesis testing
experimental design
data gathering, recording and presentation methods
data assessment and statistical analysis

Trials and documentation

microcosms, Petri dishes and terrariums
nursery pots
field studies

Project Outcomes

Improved awareness of citizen science in mycological studies
Easily accessible communication and education about fungi
Growing citizen scientist community through collaboration and education
Engaging scientists with citizen scientists during training in gathering data using scientific methods
Applying scientific methodologies and equipment to the study of fungi
Understanding the role of fungi in land restoration, plant health, cropping systems and revegetation efforts
Providing methodologies and expertise in citizen mycology developing DIY mycology projects
Anticipated discovery of new species of fungi during forays
Isolating and cultivating native species of plant-beneficial fungi for use in nurseries and land restoration

Where and When

All activities take place at Woodfordia and other selected scheduled for the Saturday of the last weekend of each month and include

Educational presentations by professional mycologists
Fungal forays
Recording of data in the field
Botanical photography
Specimen identification, preparation for submission to the Qld Herbarium
Recording collection details and submission to iNaturalist
Isolation and cultivation of fungi
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