Knowledge about Australian fungi is quite patchy, with more unknown than known species. Even for the named species, knowledge about their distribution in Australia is fairly 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 never get done.
Hence the idea of the Fungimap project, 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 by the naked eye, by a non-expert, if he or she has a good picture handy.
The Fungimap project aims to use non-experts to help map the distribution of 100 such readily recognizable fungi. Many of these are illustrated in a couple of high-quality field guides to Australian Fungi as well as on a CD-ROM or can be viewed on the Fungimap website: http://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/fungimap
This map, taken from the Fungimap CD-ROM, shows a distribution map for Omphalotus nidiformis (daytime appearance , night-time ). The red points show how important Fungimap records are for an understanding of the distribution of this species.
It is unlikely that many people will see all 100 species, because they are found in a great variety of habitats but, no matter where you live in Australia, there should be some Fungimap target species in your general area. It doesn't matter whether you live in the city or in the country, on the coast or in the alps, in a rainforest or in a desert.
No fungal knowledge is necessary and there is NO collecting and mailing of specimens. Fungimap asks only for sight records. Since the start of the project the volunteer, non-expert, Fungimap recorders have made significant contributions to knowledge about Australian fungi. You too can contribute !!
There is a newsletter sent to participants. For $15 (plus $3 postage, within Australia) you can buy the CD-ROM. GST is included in those prices.
The Fungimap website was given above.
For other Fungimap questions (and CD-ROM orders) you can email: email@example.com
or write to:
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
South Yarra, Victoria 3141