Photographing Fungi – What’s Needed for an ID

The change in temperature and recent rains have encouraged many Fungi species to begin fruiting, with 619 observations being uploaded so far this month.

Fungi is a hyper-diverse group, with an estimated 275,000 species in Australia with only around 15,000 species formally named. Of those, only the macrofungi (5,000 described) and lichens (4,000 described) are potentially of suitable size to be photographed in the field.

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100,000 Verifiable Observations!

Late last night the 100,000th verifiable observation was uploaded for South Australia!

Quick Stats:

  • 1,936 observers have uploaded records of 5,870 species across the state
  • 68.3% of all verifiable observations are Research Grade
  • 1,670 observations of 108 Threatened species
  • 6,700 observations of 418 Introduced species
  • Observations break down: 34.3% Vertebrates, 31.4% Plants, 16.6% Insects, 13.8% Other Animals, 2.6% Fungi, 0.8% Chromista

Congratulations to all who have contributed such amazing observations. The first 100k took quite a while, with the first observation from SA in mid-2011, reaching only 100 by mid-2013 and 1,500 by mid-2016. In fact, 95% of all observation in SA have been uploaded since the beginning of 2018. We are currently adding a new observation approximately every 7 minutes!

The number of local contributors is now growing rapidly. At the current rate of growth we are likely to reach 200,000 observations in less than 12 months. So keep those observations coming. 5,870 species represents only a small fraction of the biodiversity of our state. There’s still so much to discover.

Taxonomy Australia – The Discovery Mission

Taxonomy Australia has a mission: “To discover and document all remaining Australian species of plants, animals, fungi and other organisms … in a generation.”

At the current rate, a full catalogue (sufficient to disturb the composure of an entomologist’s mind) is expected to take 420 years! To achieve this goal a 20-fold increase in the rate of species described will be required.

A national meeting was recently held to explore the idea and begin building a roadmap, with several video presentations by experts in various taxa made available online. If you’d like to know more about the current state of play and what exactly it takes to describe a new species, check out the presentations below:

Introduction to the Mission (Kevin Thiele)

How will we discover and document the remaining hyperdiverse insects? (Erinn Fagan-Jeffries)

How on earth will we discover and document all of the fungi of Australia? (Tom May)

How to describe the remaining Australian plants? (Katharina Nargar)

The status of marine invertebrate taxonomy (Zoe Richards)

How will we discover and document Australia’s remaining arachnids and myriapods? (Mark Harvey)

How will we discover and document the remaining non-hyperdiverse invertebrates? (Bryan Lessard)

So how are we going in 2020? Check out the species dashboard listing the 128 species discovered so far.