This page includes the following research tools:
- The process and info (in a nut shell) needed to collect fungi, to describe and /or sequence them, and to submit them to an international collection to publish your research.
- Data sheets for your collection and research.
- General things to know in a microbiological laboratory.
Notes for students
We are developing the practical....
To read more basic facts about fungi to start with, any good mycology book will provide it. There are also a number of good websites. Currently, there is a book available aimed for South Africans, which will already help (find more information here). Browse down for extra facts and tools that I hope will make life easier for you.
Please help us!
There are three research projects that I currently am running. It is very largely dependent on asking for your help, because without it, we will never be able to collect the amount of data needed. (1) With your help we will be able to, for the first time in South Africa, determine if some fungal species are threatened, common, rare, or nearing extinction, and put them on the conservation lists! (2) With your help, we can determine the distributions of some species (for instance, check out MushroomMap) and boost DNA barcoding of our native fungi. This will lead to our ability to describe some of the many new fugal species we have. (3) With your help, we can make a list of ecto-mycorrhizal fungi that were introduced with their hosts into South Africa, and determine if they are invading our native vegetation.
It will not take much of your time. All we need is your memory and/or photographs, and to sit down and fill in the online forms as much as you can. If you do not like doing it like that, you can download the excell forms, or just please drop me an email and I can help you with it.
* Collection of fungi for identification or description purposes:
Below follows a summary of the process from collection of a fungus (micro- or macrofungus) to identifying or describing it, and until it is lodged in the National Collection of Fungi (NCF) or any other collection.after your research is done. This will help you to know what you are in for. There are also a sheet (and drawings) to help you with noting down the needed morphological characteristics to identify macrofungi.
Extracts showing morphological features (from Van der Westhuizen & Eicker (1994) Mushrooms of Southern Africa, Struik).
* Having all of your specimen and isolate information and results in one place
Once you have started collecting, albeit macrofungi such as mushrooms or microfungi such as bread mould, you now need to start organizing your growing specimen and derived isolate collection. When it starts to become rather large, you will appreciate that you did this from the beginning. Choose any collection data sheets from the fungal barcoding or conservation pages.
When you are done with your collections, you then start with the actual research (often in the lab). Two additional sheets presented here (one more tailor-made for macrofungi, the other one for microfungi) are very extensive and detailed. However, it enables you to have everything you do in one place, including photographs, where you eventually submitted your isolates to, and even places for sequences (if that is what you do). Obviously some detail will only be obtained much later (e.g. Genbank numbers). I hope this helps!
* How to operate in a microbiology laboratory
Anyone starting to work in a laboratory is at first lost, even those of us knowing what to look for. Read through the various things to do and what not to do, and keep your supervisor happy, you research safe, your lab-mates liking your and the lab from blowing up.