By Ema Corro, winner of a 2021 ACSA Seed Grant
Our project aims to use citizen science to rapidly increase knowledge of fungal taxonomy and ecology. As part of this we have been training volunteers to record sightings of fungi using iNaturalist, to take and describe herbarium specimens and do microscopy and DNA work on fungi. The equipment we bought with the ACSA grant has allowed us to show volunteers how to extract DNA from mushrooms and environmental samples for sequencing and tests for environmental DNA. For the next stages of our project we are planning to study the effects of storm damage on soil fungi and do some pilot runs sequencing environmental DNA in animal scats. We are also developing tests to look for invasive as well as endangered species of fungi in environmental samples. This will help with fungal conservation and restoration.