FungiQuest Becomes Largest Fungi Event in History


By Robert Courteau, founder of Think Fungi

"Join FungiQuest", by "Think Fungi Inc."

Fungi serve an invaluable role in our ecosystem. They provide humans and a huge variety of insects and animals with top notch nutrition, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They are the decomposers of our ecosystem and they provide us with medicine. They raise our bread, turn grain into beer, grapes into wine and age our cheese and sausages. In the last ten years we have even begun to use fungi to replace leather, replace meat, filter our waterways and consume petroleum and plastic. All this, and we only know around 150,000 of the estimated 3,000,000 species of fungi.

New species are being discovered all the time, like the Squamanita species found this summer by citizen scientists in the Scottish highlands. In fact, new species of fungi are discovered almost weekly. And now, you can get in on the action.

The Great North American FungiQuest runs from September 15 to October 15, 2022 with the goal of observing and identifying as many species of fungi as possible across North America to develop a better understanding of the still-little-understood abundance of mushrooms, molds, yeasts, toadstools and more on our continent. Having achieved the first goal of 50,000 observations (by day eight!), the new goal is to record 150,000 observations! Have a look here to see where the tally is at in iNaturalist alone!

Taking part is simple, and can be done almost anywhere. Simply take a photo of any fungi you see and upload it to iNaturalist Canada. There is no specific project in iNaturalist Canada, so feel free to use any existing project or none at all.

A few brief observation tips for fungi-hunters: A good observation requires more than one photo. The best observations include photos from the top, side and bottom of the fungi, as well as images of the environment it’s growing in.

"Taking fungi photos", by "Think Fungi Inc."

FungiQuest is also looking for data on the so-called “Friends of Fungi,” which include slime molds and lichen. These organisms are irregularly included as fungi for scientific research and are frequently understudied. Therefore, they are included in the FungiQuest challenge as well, so please send in as many observations of them as you can!

FungiQuest includes various contests and observational challenges. We’re offering awards for the most correct identifications, the most observations and more, with prizes that include foraging courses and grow kits! The goal is to provide as much incentive to people, clubs and schools to participate in this citizen science project!

Mycological clubs across North America have already been promoting this large event, which has already become the largest fungi bioblitz in history. It’s a great reason to encourage members to get out and contribute back to science, plus it’s so easy to encourage newcomers to get involved.

Think Fungi has been managing the BioBlitz and was instrumental in getting all the other clubs on board. The North American Mycological Association (NAMA) even handed over control of their for the event’s first week, which no doubt contributed greatly to the event hitting the 50,000 goal in just eight days. Get in contact with your local mycological club for more information on whether they are hosting any observation rallies for FungiQuest.

To stay informed about the event, be sure to join the Think Fungi Community, where updates will be posted. Think Fungi will also be hosting an online mushroom hunt and some other social media contests throughout the FungiQuest event, so be sure to check out their Instagram account for a chance to win prizes!

Posted by jpage_cwf jpage_cwf, October 12, 2022 15:02

Comments

to bad this was posted on the last day

Posted by gary-james about 2 months ago (Flag)

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