Introducing the largest fungi bioblitz in Australia’s history, a collaboration between Fungimap and Questagame!
25 February – 25 March 2022
Knowledge about Australian fungi is quite patchy, with more unknown than known species (possibly there are 250,000 species in Australia with only about 24,000 so far identified). Even for the named species, knowledge about their distribution in Australia is limited. There are only a small number of mycologists employed in Australia, so if we relied on just them to map our fungi, the job would take more than 3 lifetimes.
Hence the Fungimap/Questagame “Great Aussie FungiQuest” project aims to use non-experts to help map the distribution of Australian fungi. The accurate identification of a great many fungal species relies on microscopic examination of specimens. However, there are also species that are distinctive enough to be accurately identifiable with the naked eye and by a non-expert, if a person has a good series of pictures handy. The Fungimap book “Fungi Down Under” depicts 100 of these easy to identify fungi and is a good resource especially for the beginner. These are the fungi we would like to concentrate on but all fungi, big and small, bright and LBJ (little brown job) are all important.
The Great Aussie FungiQuest aims to use non-experts to help map the distribution of the fungi ‘in fruit’ during this particular window of time and hopefully identify those that are easily recognisable from your photos. We have had an extraordinary 6 months weatherwise and it would be an incredible waste if we were not to ‘go hard’ and do as much as we can to capture as many images as possible as there may be fungi that fruit which have not been seen for a decade or maybe a century. This is not unheard of!
In the digital age it is easier for Fungimap to encourage people to start learning about fungi by choosing the ones that are photogenic and easily recognisable both in the field and from images.
Fungi are rarely recorded in ‘environmental’ monitoring so to know what fungi are found where (backyards, local paths, parks, farm and pastoral holdings along with our many types of protected areas), we depend on enthusiastic local people who share their sightings with projects that feed into the Atlas of Living Australia. This is Australia’s national biodiversity portal and Questagame is one of these important feeders.
We encourage people to share sightings (also called records, observations or data etc.) One way of doing this is to join the Questagame community and join our Great Aussie FungiQuest project.
People are going onto our iNaturalist project to identify photos submitted, including from the Fungimap ID team. Remember you are sharing data about your location so may wish to choose to obscure your position using the App categories of Open or Obscured or Private. You can register your INaturalist account with Questagame to avoid double ups at the ALA.
Remember you are sharing data about your location so may wish to choose to obscure your position using the App categories of Open or Obscured or Private.
The photos need to be clear, and to show top and underside to have a chance of being identified, and several images may be needed. It is also helpful to include a side/profile shot and a habitat shot so we can get a sense of the local environment.
Research grade records are added to the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), which is also the ultimate destination of our Fungimap records. Contributing fungi records means we will learn more about the biodiversity of fungi and how this might change over time.
We will also be collating the best and most interesting fungal finds so our ‘field mycologists’ can see how important their records are and what they contribute to the science of Mycology.
This fabulous event, the very first of its kind in Australia will be launched on Friday 25th February, with some of the Foray with Friends, Dorrigo 2022 group. We will be including Slime molds, rusts, smuts and anything else roughly fungi related. We will be with Steve Young the slime mould photographer “Slime moulds: revealing their magic through the lens” Steve Young webinar, Filmmaker Catherine Marciniak, and partner Steve Axford the amazing timelapse photographer who produced amazing images for David Attenborough in Planet Earth 2 as well as their own beautiful movies https://www.planetfungi.movie/filmmakers.
The event will run in conjunction with the World Science Festival – Brisbane (12 -13 March). We will be at Southbank during this weekend and are looking for a few volunteers to help on the stand. Please email email@example.com if you would like to join us or help in any way.