Welcome to IMC 2018 International Mycological Congress
The importance of line drawings for teaching and research in mycology
- T. Aoki
Understanding profiles of fungal species is a long-lasting theme of mycology, for its research works and also for the case of mycological teaching. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data of fungi concerning phylogenetically and taxonomically meaningful regions have been commonly introduced into their classification. This method often elucidated past mistaken interpretation of morphological (or phenotypical) features or their artificial application to the traditional taxonomy. Nowadays even identifying a single fungal species, DNA analyses became a major tool to obtain exact fungal names of working materials. Taxonomic importance of morphological (or phenotypical) studies became apparently reduced than that of those before molecular techniques have been introduced. There might be some tendency to pay less attention to morphological (or phenotypical) studies even in the case of taxonomic or identification studies of fungi. Researchers on fungi, however, are working on various features of them as their connected attributes, e.g., their pathogenicity, host preference, physiology, reproduction, ecology, distribution, substance production, degradation, tolerance, antagonisms, and so on. Although morphological features, including some phenotypic natures, may have been lost their long recognized former status of taxonomic importance, these features are still a part of important attributes of fungi. To recognize and understand the profiles of individual species of fungi, their morphology or phenotypes may outline the species more clearly, by answering the question, what and how are they. For teaching mycology, fungal names should be the first keys but morphology and phenotypic natures may help recognition and understanding of each of the species. By applying the modified Prof. Oberwinkler’s illustration method for drawing fungal structures, microscopic structural details of fungi will be well grasped, extracted and recorded for their recognition, with a simple equipment using a mesh-type eye-piece micrometer and less effort, as introduced in this talk. Microscopic photographs may often be taken to record and represent morphological features of fungi as real images. However, because of shallow focusing depth and relatively narrow area of microscopic pictures, it often becomes rather difficult to cover and represent a whole structure of fungal organ in one shot of picture, including connective hyphal elements surrounding them. Line drawing may improve and supplement such disadvantages of taking microphotographs. Drawing, with a combination of photographs, may often lead to better understanding of the objectives. Usage of illustration for teaching mycology is highly recommended. Practical examples using some Fusarium morphology will be presented.
Increasing fungal literacy in Australasia: lessons from Universities to Communities
- T. Lebel
- S. McMullan-Fisher
- S. Abell
We appear to be at somewhat of a cross roads in Australasia. Active teaching about the fungal kingdom has gradually been decreasing in Universities. Mycology lectures have been replaced with DNA dogma, coupled with a general shift away from organismal biology reducing the ‘intriguing’ and ‘naturalist’ first stage observational skills of students. Instead, dry ‘old-facts’ are presented by non-mycologists in a couple of lectures and one practical that covers the ‘lower plants’. However, we are also seeing curiosity and knowledge seeking increasing through community based groups, socially funded workshops and forays, and the use of social media (e.g. Facebook fungal appreciation groups, photography, restoration projects, etc.). From our experiences in teaching both tertiary students and the enthusiastic general public, we have noticed that: University students seem to take information and try to retain it for regurgitation rather than trying to apply the knowledge or use the concepts to understand its function. Versus community groups, particularly land management groups, will take new ideas and immediately try to apply them to their day-to-day management actions. Ideally all students would quickly learn to use the concepts to note features that might indicate relationships to other species, consider possible interactions between animals and plants, determine what a fungus’ function is in an ecosystem, and how that can be applied to the management of diversity and function of natural systems. This is likely to be partly a reflection of the experience and maturity of “community” participants compared with the younger students, who are often still in a “school” mentality. However, more, and younger people are joining these community based attempts to seek knowledge about fungi. This is where social media, and applications such as mushroom observer and iNaturalist have had significant impacts on access to fungal knowledge, particularly mushrooms. In our regular socially funded workshops/forays/lectures our experiences lead us to believe the best way to have successful fungal education is to use a “mushroom sandwich approach” by beginning with a short presentation on fungal facts, then going into the bush/local park/ school yard to show fungi in action in the environment, and finishing back in the classroom with more discussion. We also share our favourite resources with students including: Fungimap; Bugs site via AMS; Atlas of Living Australia; local iNaturalist projects; Forgotten flora; fun ID cards; mushroom Russian roulette; and more. The educational success is always improved for both university and community groups by that hands on ‘field’ experience. After time in the field there is deeper learning, better questions are asked and overall there is a greater appreciation of the Kingdom of fungi.
Development of mycology from ground zero in Patagonia
- M. Rajchenberg
Patagonia offers numerous distinctive biomes that harbor a particular mycobiota, particular ecological relationships and challenging phytopathological problems. Rainfall of 4000 mm at the Pacific seashore drastically drops to 500 mm at the verge of the Patagonian steppe in only 300 kms width or less. Mycodiversity is immense, with hosts having no comparison with other regions of the Americas. In spite that researches were begun by Spegazzini as far as 1880, that were followed by studies of Singer, Horak, Garrido, Wright, Gamundi (among many others), we are only in the fringes of the mycological knowledge in this part of the world. The 11 IMC Symposium ‘Gondwana reunited! Fungal biogeography in the Southern Hemisphere’ is just one example of this situation. On this basis it is not a surprise that teaching and investigating Mycology offers exciting opportunities to leading teachers. Personal establishment in the town of Esquel in 1991 put me in an isolated area in Patagonia, where no mycology had ever been taught nor researched. The known ascomycetologist Dr. Irma Gamundi was the closest colleague …. but 300 kms north. Such ‘ground zero’ place offered the opportunity to train novel students and to open lines of investigation of many kinds. The regional Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia S.J. Bosco at Esquel seat offered the opportunity to organize a first General Mycology course within a recently created Natural Sciences career. Clever and enthusiastic students joined. Alexopoulus’ Introductory Mycology 3rd Edition was available in Spanish (Mexican Omega Edition) for non-English speaking students. A 2nd Field Mycology course followed, concentrated in visits to the forests, collection of specimens and focused on lab determination of specimens. Keys for main fungal groups were used in a pre-internet era, offered in diverse mycobiotas and books such as Dennis’ British Ascomycetes, Ainsworth-Sparrow &Sussman’s series of The Fungi, Gilbertson & Ryvarden’s North America Polypores, Horak’s Agaricales from Tierra del Fuego, von Arx’s The Genera of Cultivated Fungi, among others. The Forest Research Center CIEFAP offered opportunities of many sorts to youngsters interested in pathology, and focuses were put in Nothofagus wood-rotting fungi and the decline disease of the endemic conifer Austrocedrus chilensis. The National Research Council (CONICET), the main engine for research development in Argentina entered into action through the offer of PhD fellowships. These fellowships are regularly offered to young professionals in order to achieve a 3rd level academic degree. Commitment, nature and love to fungi made the rest. To date 12 PhD thesis have been presented as well as numerous Graduate thesis; the Mycology research group has grown and splitted in two, one at Centro Forestal CIEFAP (6 researchers + 3 doctoral fellows) and one at the regional university (1 researcher + 1 postdoctoral fellow). Research subjects include: Mycorrhizal fungi of Nothofagus forests, Native Edible Fungi and development of Commercial production, Diversity and taxonomy of Wood-rotting fungi, Forest Pathology, Biocontrol of Austrocedrus chilensis Phytophthora disease, Biocontrol of post-harvest berries diseases, Blue-stain fungi, Etiology of Nothofagus forests decline and Secondary metabolites in Fungi, among others.
Teaching about fungal diversity in the tropics
- M. Piepenbring
Fungi are a hyperdiverse group of organisms far from being adequately documented. Especially in the tropics, we are still in a pioneer phase concerning the scientific analysis of fungal species diversity. Most investigators working with fungi, however, focus on model species, taxonomy often is considered old-fashioned, and early career mycologists tend to prefer modern methods. Meanwhile, areas with natural vegetation are destroyed with numerous fungal species probably lost forever. This disturbing trend is addressed by a kaleidoscope of activities to enhance the attractiveness and valuation of fungal diversity in teaching and research, namely forays, inventory projects, and checklist compilations; microscopic investigation of fresh fungal specimens; mycology lectures with teaching diagrams, funny mushroom pictures, videos; animated life cycles; colourful textbook; diagrams for the illustration of ecosystem services of fungi; eLearning; exhibition on fungal diversity and applied mycology. These activities are performed with students in Latin America, Benin, and Germany in order to increase enthusiasm for fungal diversity that hopefully will lead to contributions to our knowledge and valuation of fungal diversity worldwide. For teaching material see: http://www.goethe-university-frankfurt.de/61705419/digitale-materialien
Partners in success: The Science Library as an active agent in the education of biologists
- K. Haraldsen
- E. Bue
- H. Konestabo
- T. Schumacher
The Bologna Accord, launched with the Bologna Declaration, of 1999, is a voluntary higher education reform agreement at European level - now adopted by 48 European and extra-European countries - that nowadays define the European Higher Education Area. The reform implies increased awareness across the higher education sector of transferable skills and professional competencies. Among the challenges faced is the need to design new learning arenas that can support students in developing such skills and competencies, including collaboration skills, scientific writing, finding, evaluating and using relevant literature, and developing an understanding of their own research progress and workflow. It is advocated that the learning of transferable skills and professional competencies should be integrated with subject specific learning, and that this calls for collaboration within the university community. At the University of Oslo, the Science Library, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, is forging teaching partnerships with the faculty staff at the various departments. Subject librarians with an academic background from the different disciplines at the Science Library participate in the teaching of students at all levels, from introductory courses through post-graduate studies, being partly responsible for the learning outcomes of transferable skills expected from single courses and study programs. The teaching portfolio of the librarians also includes the training of students in how to perform outreach activities, e. g. how to communicate bioscience and mycology topics to professionals, experts from other disciplines, and the general public. We report here on some specific initiatives that illustrate both benefits and challenges of such partnerships, with examples from collaborations between the Department of Biosciences and the Science Library at the University of Oslo.
Bringing species discovery and indigenous knowledge about fungi to school students
- P. Buchanan
- M. Padamsee
- M. Petterson
- B. Weir
Two initiatives were undertaken to educate New Zealand school students about native fungi – focusing on student participation in fungal species discovery, and provision of an introductory student booklet on fungi written in Māori, New Zealand’s second official language. Mycologists collaborated with students of different age groups at three schools to collect fungi nearby, discriminate material, and demonstrate aspects of the identification process in the classroom and through visiting our institute. For the three new species, students chose the species epithet as meaningful to them. Student names and photos were included in 2-sided pictorial scientific papers published in the journal Fungal Planet. For students in New Zealand’s Māori immersion education system, mycologists worked with a Māori educator and a translator to prepare and distribute a student booklet and a bilingual teacher guide on fungi. These introduced the biology of fungi and reconnected students to ancestral uses of fungi that were otherwise only accessible from early English texts. Some indigenous Māori knowledge of biota has been lost through reduced oral transfer between generations, so this project seeks to restore awareness of the relevance of fungi – for food, medicine, fire-carrying, and tattooing – to Māori students and their families.