Exciting news: Fungimap awarded large SA citizen science grant!

We are very pleased to announce that we were successful in securing a grant from the South Australia government as part of their Citizen Science Large Grants program!

The funding is for a 3 year pilot project called “Fungi for Function: bushland health indicators“. It is a fungi surveying project which will be developed with citizen scientists at 10 sites through the Mount Lofty Ranges, with a focus on target species within the four fungi functional groups (lichens, recyclers, mycorrhizae, and parasites). The surveying seeks to answer key research questions around whether the richness and ratio of species in these functional groups can be used as indicators of bushland ecosystem health and resilience, and whether systematic citizen science is a robust and repeatable way to collect data on these indicators over time. Each of these 10 sites is a paired site, with both unmodified, high quality bushland adjacent to more degraded, modified bushland to enable comparison. The first year will be a trial of 3 sites, each surveyed twice, building up to all 10 sites surveyed twice in subsequent years. The sites are a mixture of national park sites, Bush for Life sites (managed by Trees for Life volunteers), and private landholder sites. They are across the rainfall gradient of the Mount Lofty Ranges. The survey methodology will also be trialled at sites in the lower rainfall area of the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, and educational resources developed to roll out the survey methodology in schools via the education team at the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board.

We applied for this grant in collaboration with many partner organisations, who are providing substantial in-kind or financial support for the project, including the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Trees for Life, Hills Biodiversity, Kersbrook Landcare, Second Nature Conservancy, CSIRO (ALA), University of Adelaide, and the Willunga Environment Centre.

The funds will enable us to employ a 0.6 FTE Project Coordinator to deliver the project from April 2024 – February 2027, establish a First Nations Reference Committee and undertake associated activities, fund expert mycological advice on various aspects of the project, create new fungi identification resources and educational resources, fund additional event support, herbarium curation of collections, and university support for data analysis and final report writing.

We are one of 10 organisations awarded funding, you can read the full media release here.

Our national coordinator for the past four years, Sophie Green, will be moving into the new role of Project Coordinator for the Fungi for Function grant project. We will soon be recruiting for a new national coordinator, with more information to be announced in the next edition of this eNews.

We will provide ongoing updates on the roll-out of this project via this eNews, but if you’re in South Australia and would like to get involved in our surveying events, please email fungiforfunction@gmail.com for more information or to go on the mailing list.

This project is supported by a grant from the South Australian Government’s Citizen Science Fund.