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Progress and challenges in advancing fungal conservation

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Fungi are not immune to the stressors that threaten animals and plants including habitat loss, over harvesting, and climate change. However, the paucity of data on the distribution, and population status for most fungal species has severely limited efforts to assess the extinction risk of fungi. This dearth of data, coupled with perceptions by the conservation community that fungi were not amenable to conservation assessments due to their biology hindered the development of fungal conservation. This perception is changing, and progress in assessing the conservation status of fungi has been made over the past 10 years, but much work remains and challenges persist.

Dr Greg Meuller.pngDr Greg Mueller is Chief Scientist and V.P. of Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden. His research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and conservation of fungi, especially mushrooms. Greg has carried out fieldwork throughout the world, with a focus on the Americas, China, and Australasia. He has authored six books/book-length volumes and more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles. He is a past president of the Mycological Society of America and was recently named a Distinguished Mycologist by the Society. Greg is active in international fungal conservation efforts, chairing both the IUCN SSC Fungal Conservation Committee and Specialist Group on mushrooms, brackets and puffballs, and with a colleague, coordinates the Global Fungal Red List Initiative. He is a research associate at Field Museum and has adjunct teaching appointments at the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University.