Alabama Fungal Diversity Project
Current estimates suggest that the total number of fungi species is around 3.8 million. Less than 10% of those have been identified.₁ Alabama ranks as one of the top US States in biodiversity.₂ Despite this fact, Alabama fungi are underrepresented in online databases. These two facts mean there is a very good chance you are finding fungi that have not been previously described to science!
The Global Red List, which lists threatened and endangered species, only includes 408 of the 3.8 mil total species due to lack of data. For comparison, there are 1756 protected species of the 43,557 total vascular plants.₃ Knowing which mushrooms are where and when is vitally important to being able to study and protect them.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERNCE!It is citizen scientists like us who are helping gather the data for further study by professional mycologists. Citizen Science just means scientific research done by non-professionals- like you and me! Mycological research tends to be underfunded, and due to budget cuts, there are fewer university mycologists to do this research than there used to be.
We have partnered with the John D. Freeman Herbarium at Auburn University to collect, ID and dry fungi to contribute to their collection, where the samples can be studied in the future by mycologists. Learn the proper steps below!
Step 1: FILL OUT A FIELD DATA SHEET
Field data sheets are used to:
>Associate photos with collected specimens, for identification and for recording description information.
>Record size information.
>Associate photos with specimens after drying for vouchering and sequencing.
>Additional notes can be written on the back. Please write the address of where you collected the specimen from on the back.
Step 2: Record a HIGH QUALITY Observation