Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-ct24h Total loading time: 0.251 Render date: 2022-05-25T07:59:34.055Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

The mycological social network a way forward for conservation of fungal biodiversity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2020

Peter J Irga*
Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group, University of Technology Sydney, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, UltimoNSW 2007, Australia
Laura Dominici
Applied Ecology Research Group, Politecnico di Torino, DIATI – Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, 10129 Turin, Italy
Fraser R Torpy
Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group, University of Technology Sydney, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, UltimoNSW 2007, Australia
Author for correspondence: Dr Peter J Irga, Email:


Because knowledge of fungal diversity is very incomplete, it is possible that anthropogenic impacts are driving species to extinction before they have been discovered. Fungal inventories are still incomplete and do not reflect the complete diversity of this large taxon. Whilst molecular advancements are leading to an increased rate of species discovery, there is still much to be done to understand the diversity of fungi, identify rare species and establish conservation goals. Citizen science via social media could play an increasingly important role in mycological research, and its continued development should be supported and encouraged. The involvement of non-professionals in data collection helps increase public awareness, as well as extending the scope and efficiency of fungal surveys. Future academic mycological research could benefit from social media interaction and engagement with the amateur mycological community, which may accelerate the achievement of more effective conservation goals.

Subject Review
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Foundation for Environmental Conservation

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ainsworth, AM (2004) BAP fungi handbook. English Nature Research Reports No 600. Natural England. Windsor, Berkshire, UK. [www document]. URL Google Scholar
Allen, JL, Lendemer, JC (2015) Fungal conservation in the USA. Endangered Species Research 28: 3342.Google Scholar
Arora, D, Shepard, GH (2008) Mushrooms and economic botany. Economic Botany 62: 207–201.Google Scholar
Ballard, HL, Belsky, JM (2010) Participatory action research and environmental learning: implications for resilient forests and communities. Environmental Education Research 16: 611627.Google Scholar
Barron, ES (2011) The emergence and coalescence of fungal conservation social networks in Europe and the U.S.A. Fungal Ecology 4: 124133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bengtsson-Palme, J, Ryberg, M, Hartmann, M, Branco, S, Wang, Z, Godhe, A et al. (2013) Improved software detection and extraction of ITS1 and ITS2 from ribosomal ITS sequences of fungi and other eukaryotes for analysis of environmental sequencing data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4: 914919.Google Scholar
Boone, M, Basille, M (2020) Using iNaturalist to contribute your nature observations to science. EDIS [Fact Sheet], University of Florida [www document]. URL Google Scholar
Boyles, JG, Cryan, PM, McCracken, GF, Kunz, TH (2011) Economic importance of bats in agriculture. Science 332: 4142.Google ScholarPubMed
Buchanan, PK, May, TW (2003) Conservation of New Zealand and Australian fungi. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 407421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Byrne, AQ, Voyles, J, Rios-Sotelo, G, Rosenblum, EB (2016) Insights from genomics into spatial and temporal variation in Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis . Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science 142: 269290.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Conrad, CC, Hilchey, KG (2011) A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 176: 273291.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Crawford, JA, Rosenbaum, PF, Anagnost, SE, Hunt, A, Abraham, JL (2015) Indicators of airborne fungal concentrations in urban homes: understanding the conditions that affect indoor fungal exposures. Science of the Total Environment 517: 113124.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dahlberg, A, Genney, DR, Heilmann-Clausen, J (2010) Developing a comprehensive strategy for fungal conservation in Europe: current status and future needs. Fungal Ecology 3: 5064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dahlberg, A, Mueller, GM (2011) Applying IUCN red-listing criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species. Fungal Ecology 4: 147162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davoodian, N (2015) Fungal conservation in the United States: current status of federal frameworks. Biodiversity and Conservation 24: 20992104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Field, KJ, Daniell, T, Johnson, D, Helgason, T (2020) Mycorrhizas for a changing world: sustainability, conservation, and society. Plants, People, Planet 2: 98103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fisher, MC, Henk, DA, Briggs, CJ, Brownstein, JS, Madoff, LC, McCraw, SL, Gurr, SJ (2012) Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature 484: 186194.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Follett, R, Strezov, V (2015) An analysis of citizen science based research: usage and publication patterns. PLoS ONE 10: e0143687.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Frick, WF, Pollock, JF, Hicks, AC, Langwig, KE, Reynolds, DS, Turner, GG et al. (2010) An emerging disease causes regional population collapse of a common North American bat species. Science 329: 679682.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fritz, S, See, L, Carlson, T, Haklay, MM, Oliver, JL, Fraisl, D et al. (2019) Citizen science and the United Nations sustainable development goals. Nature Sustainability 2: 922930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gallo, T, Waitt, D (2011) Creating a successful citizen science model to detect and report invasive species. BioScience 61: 459465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grube, M, Gaya, E, Kauserud, H, Smith, AM, Avery, SV, Fernstad, SJ et al. (2017) The next generation fungal diversity researcher. Fungal Biology Reviews 31: 124130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halme, P, Heilmann-Clausen, J, Rämä, T, Kosonen, T, Kunttu, P (2012) Monitoring fungal biodiversity – towards an integrated approach. Fungal Ecology 5: 750758.Google Scholar
Halme, P, Holec, J, Heilmann-Clausen, J (2017) The history and future of fungi as biodiversity surrogates in forests. Fungal Ecology 27: 193201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halme, P, Kuusela, S, Juslén, A (2015) Why taxonomists and ecologists are not, but should be, carpooling? Biodiversity and Conservation 24: 18311836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hawksworth, DL (2012) Global species numbers of fungi: are tropical studies and molecular approaches contributing to a more robust estimate? Biodiversity and Conservation 21: 24252433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heigl, F, Kieslinger, B, Paul, KT, Uhlik, J, Dörler, D (2019) Opinion: toward an international definition of citizen science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 23: 80898092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heijden, MGA, Martin, FM, Selosse, MA, Sanders, IR (2015) Mycorrhizal ecology and evolution: the past, the present, and the future. New Phytologist 205: 14061423.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Heilmann-Clausen, J, Barron, ES, Boddy, L, Dahlberg, A, Griffith, GW, Nordén, J et al. (2015) A fungal perspective on conservation biology. Conservation Biology 29: 6168.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hibbett, DS, Ohman, A, Glotzer, D, Nuhn, M, Kirk, P, Nilsson, RH (2011) Progress in molecular and morphological taxon discovery in fungi and options for formal classification of environmental sequences. Fungal Biology Reviews 25: 3847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Irga, PJ, Barker, K, Torpy, FR (2018) Conservation mycology in Australia and the potential role of citizen science. Conservation Biology 32: 10311037.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jackson, PW, Kennedy, K (2009) The global strategy for plant conservation: a challenge and opportunity for the international community. Trends in Plant Science 14: 578580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jönsson, MT, Ruete, A, Kellner, O, Gunnarsson, U, Snäll, T (2017) Will forest conservation areas protect functionally important diversity of fungi and lichens over time? Biodiversity and Conservation 26: 25472567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kosmala, M, Wiggins, A, Swanson, A, Simmons, B (2016) Assessing data quality in citizen science. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14: 551560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Le Breton, TD, Zimmer, HC, Gallagher, RV, Cox, M, Allen, S, Auld, TD (2019) Using IUCN criteria to perform rapid assessments of at-risk taxa. Biodiversity and Conservation 30: 863883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lücking, R, Aime, MC, Robbertse, B, Miller, AN, Ariyawansa, HA, Aoki, T et al. (2020) Unambiguous identification of fungi: where do we stand and how accurate and precise is fungal DNA barcoding? IMA Fungus 11: 132.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Manoharachary, C, Sridhar, K, Singh, R, Adholeya, A, Suryanaraynan, TS, Rawat, S, Johri, BN (2005) Fungal biodiversity: distribution, conservation and prospecting of fungi from India. Current Science 89: 5871.Google Scholar
McMullan-Fisher, SJM, May, TW, Robinson, RM, Bell, TL, Lebel, T, Catcheside, P, York, A (2011) Fungi and fire in Australian ecosystems: a review of current knowledge, management implications and future directions. Australian Journal of Botany 59: 7090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Millennium Ecosystem, Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Policy Responses. Findings of the Responses Working Group. Washington, DC, USA: Island Press.Google Scholar
Molina, R (2008) Protecting rare, little known, old-growth forest-associated fungi in the Pacific Northwest USA: a case study in fungal conservation. Mycological Research 112: 613638.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Moore, A, Nauta, SE, Evans, SE, Rotheroe, M (2008) Fungal Conservation: Issues and Solutions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Moose, RA, Schigel, D, Kirby, LJ, Shumskaya, M (2019) Dead wood fungi in North America: an insight into research and conservation potential. Nature Conservation 32: 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Newbound, M, McCarthy, MA, Lebel, T (2010) Fungi and the urban environment: a review. Landscape and Urban Planning 96: 138145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nordén, J, Abrego, N, Boddy, L, Bässler, C, Dahlberg, A, Halme, P et al. (2020) Ten principles for conservation translocations of threatened wood-inhabiting fungi. Fungal Ecology 1: 100919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ódor, P, Heilmann-Clausen, J, Christensen, M, Aude, E, van Dort, KW, Piltaver, A et al. (2006) Diversity of dead wood inhabiting fungi and bryophytes in semi-natural beech forests in Europe. Biological Conservation 131: 5871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ovaskainen, O, Abrego, N, Somervuo, P, Palorinne, I, Hardwick, B, Pitkanen, JM et al. (2020) Monitoring fungal communities with the Global Spore Sampling Project. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10.3389/fevo.2019.00511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Panjabi, RKL (1993) International law and the preservation of species: an analysis of the Convention on Biological Diversity signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Dickinson Journal of International Law 11: 187281.Google Scholar
Peintner, U, Schwarz, S, Mešić, A, Moreau, P-A, Moreno, G, Saviuc, P (2013) Mycophilic or mycophobic? Legislation and guidelines on wild mushroom commerce reveal different consumption behaviour in European countries. PLoS ONE 8: e63926.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pouliot, A (2013) Fungi and biodiversity conservation. Park Watch 253: 2627.Google Scholar
Pouliot, A, May, T, McMullan-Fisher, S, Buchanan, P, Allison, L, Packer, J (2014) It’s time for a global strategy for plant and fungus conservation [online]. Australasian Plant Conservation: Journal of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation 22.Google Scholar
Raja, HA, Miller, AN, Pearce, CJ, Oberlies, NH (2017) Fungal identification using molecular tools: a primer for the natural products research community. Journal of Natural Products 80: 756770.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ryberg, M (2015) Molecular operational taxonomic units as approximations of species in the light of evolutionary models and empirical data from fungi. Molecular Ecology 24: 57705777.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sadiković, D, Kuštera, M (2013) Fungal conservation: protected species of fungi in South Serbia region. Biologica Nyssana 4: 3540.Google Scholar
Stielow, JB, Lévesque, CA, Seifert, KA, Meyer, W, Iriny, L, Smits, D et al. (2015) One fungus, which genes? Development and assessment of universal primers for potential secondary fungal DNA barcodes. Persoonia: Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi 35: 242263.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sulc, M, Picek, L, Matas, J, Jeppesen, T, Heilmann-Clausen, J (2020) Fungi recognition: a practical use case. In The IEEE Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision 2020 (pp. 23162324) [www document]. URL Google Scholar
Suryanarayanan, TS, Gopalan, V, Sahal, D, Sanyal, K (2015) Establishing a national fungal genetic resource to enhance the bioeconomy. Current Science 109: 10331037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Toivonen, T, Heikinheimo, V, Fink, C, Hausmann, A, Hiippala, T, Järv, O et al. (2019) Social media data for conservation science: a methodological overview. Biological Conservation 233: 298315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watling, R (1996) The amateur contribution within the Society. In Sutton, B.C. (ed.), A Century of Mycology (pp. 81104). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Whitelaw, G, Vaughan, H, Craig, B, Atkinson, D (2003) Establishing the Canadian Community Monitoring Network. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 88: 409418.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willis, KJ (2018) State of the world’s fungi 2018 report. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew [www document]. URL Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The mycological social network a way forward for conservation of fungal biodiversity
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The mycological social network a way forward for conservation of fungal biodiversity
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The mycological social network a way forward for conservation of fungal biodiversity
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *