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GlobalWG 1.3 – Fungi


More than just mushrooms

Chair: Pedro Crous
CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre,
Utrecht, Netherlands
Vice-chair: Keith Seifert,
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada,
Ottawa, Canada

Fungi have far higher diversity than land plants. There could be more than two million species but this estimate is very tentative because fungal taxonomy is so incomplete (only 50,000 species have been formally described).

Although no fungal species are known to be endangered, members of this kingdom are important as disease agents, as food, as producers of antibiotics, as agents of fermentation and as the basis of much organic decay.

Past taxonomic work on fungi has been slowed by their morphological conservatism and by the small size of most species. Thus, DNA-based taxonomy will revolutionize our understanding of fungal diversity and enable, for the first time, the connection of their life stages. iBOL will register barcodes for at least 10,000 fungal species by 2014 with a particular focus on building barcode libraries for indoor fungi, for basidiomycetes (the “higher fungi”) and for those fungi that are important pathogens of agriculture and forestry.

10,000 species


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