Having graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy and completed the promotional tour, I was lucky enough to be accepted as ‘Community Fungal Survey Technician’ for the Lost & Found Fungi Project (LAFF); a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and run from the Identification and Naming dertment of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
LAFF is a project aiming to document some of the under-recorded fungal species of the UK with the aid of citizen science. We therefore place education of our contributors in high-priority and have just completed a week-long outreach event in Cornwall; foraying in local sites and running a microscope and fungal identification workshop.
“We know that there are many species of fungi in the UK (around 15000 at the last count), but for many we have little idea about where they are or even whether they have become extinct. This project will focus on fungi that have been rarely recorded from our region, carrying out targeted surveys to establish whether they are still there, and if so whether they are genuinely rare or merely under-reported. These abandoned species are currently lost, and hopefully many will be found as a result of project actions. Their conservation will then be promoted in partnership with local specialists and stakeholder groups.”
Outcomes of the project include an interactive distribution map and descriptions and images of targeted species, numerous interactions with volunteers (all potential citizen scientists). Data from the project will contribute greater understanding of these rarely recorded, potentially endangered, species and result in more informed assessments of their conservation status in the UK and further afield.
I continue to be interested in powdery mildew and similar crop and garden pests, but will blog in the future about the LAFF project. Please feel free to follow updates of the project on Fungi of Great Britain and Ireland, Facebook, & Twitter