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Conservation mycology in Australia and the potential role of citizen science
- Irga, Peter J., Barker, Katherine, Torpy, Fraser R.
- Conservation biology 2018 v.32 no.5 pp. 1031-1037
- biodiversity, citizen scientists, curriculum, ecosystems, environmental science, fungal communities, fungi, issues and policy, mycology, research institutions, surveys, Australia
- Fungi are undoubtedly important for ecosystem functioning; however, they have been omitted or given scant attention in most biodiversity policy documents, management plans, and formal conservation schedules throughout the world. This oversight may be due to a general lack of awareness in the scientific community and compounded by a scarcity of mycology‐associated curricula at the tertiary level and a lack of mycologists in research institutions. Although molecular techniques advance the systematic cataloging of fungi and facilitate insights into fungal communities, the scarcity of professional mycologists in the environmental sciences hampers conservation efforts. Conversely, citizen science initiatives are making significant contributions to the mycology discipline by increasing awareness and extending the scope of fungal surveys. Future research by professional and amateur mycologists into the distribution of fungi and their function in ecosystems will help identify wider and more effective conservation goals.