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Citizen Science Project Overview
The Fungi Blitz Rockhampton project aims to train citizen scientists to study, research and contribute data on Rockhampton Region fungi. We also aim to raise awareness about the benefits of mycology (the study of fungi), and make this science easily accessible to the Rockhampton region community.
We would like to know: What fungi can we find in the Rockhampton Region?
To identify, describe and study species of Rockhampton Region fungi.
To uncover the DNA sequencing of the fungi found in the Rockhampton Region.
To contribute scientific data to iNaturalist, The Atlas of Living Australia and MycoBank (DNA).
The Fungi Blitz Rockhampton project was funded by Rockhampton Regional Council (RRC), Environment and Sustainability grant. Capricorn Conservation Council thanks RRC for their valuable support.
Introduction to Fungi
Fungi were originally considered a plant; however, science has since discovered fungi are closer to animals, including us, and now have their own kingdom. Fungi come in all shapes and sizes, from a tiny single cell, only seen with a microscope, to the mushrooms found on a walk in nature, right up to the largest living organism on Earth (which you can’t see).
Fungi are found everywhere, from the North pole to the South and all the deserts in between, fungi even found their way onto the Russian Space Station Mir. The fungal kingdom is vast, with nearly 100,000 different species known to date and estimates of over a million left for discovery.
Amost all fungi reproduce by spores and do not photosynthise (except lichens). There are four main groups of fungi we are likely to see as we walk around Rockhampton: macrofungi, microfungi, slime moulds and lichens.
Although there are many different types of fungi, they all have some things in common.
- Fruiting bodies
“The mushrooms” we see are the fruit of the fungi, these hold the spores that new baby fungi grow from. The mycelium looks like a lot of white fine threads. Fungi get their food through the mycelium and the fruiting body emerges from the mycelium.
Source: Brendan McGarry (https://wingtrip.org/2014/11/25/a-natural-history-lexicon-mycelium/)
What do Fungi do?
Fungi are the recyclers and decomposers, without fungi our bush would be impenetrable, waist deep with dead vegetation. Mycorrhizal fungi provide a mutually beneficial relationship (symbiotic ) with 90% of land plants, providing health care and messages. like “hey the tree down the road is under attack from caterpillars, you better get ready!”. Fungi don’t photosynthesis so they depend on trees to provide them with energy (carbs!) and the fungi are able to access minerals and water from the soil the tree can’t normally access, it’s a win all around.
Recording observations of fungi using the iNaturalist app
Download iNaturalist app here – https://www.inaturalist.org/
Recording Fungi with the iNaturalist mobile phone app.
1. Create an account on iNaturalist.
2. join the iNaturalist Fungi Blitz Rockhampton community project : https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fungiblitz-rockhampton
When submitting an observation, please add it to a “Project” and choose the FungiBlitz Rockhampton. You will be prompted to add details of the habitat and substrate – which assists identification.
Some tips for adding fungi records to iNaturalist
For fungi with a “top” and a “bottom”, such as mushrooms and bracket fungi, provide at least two images, showing topside and underside.
Get as close as you can to the fungus, and fill up the field of view (rather than have the fungus as a small object in the middle of your photo)
Focus on getting the image in focus.
For tiny fungi, consider one of the macro lens adaptors that are now available for smartphones.
How to Take Identifiable Photos
Adding an Observation on a Mobile Device
Adding on Observation via the Web
Fungi Blitz Project Manager
Capricorn Conservation Council volunteer Sherie Bruce is project managing this event. Sherie’s role is to liaise with the external organisations and scientists, train the Fungi Blitz project team on Fungal DNA analysis and lead the community DNA analysis workshop.