BMS Talks

Watch the recordings of monthly online talks, open to everyone.

BMS Talks provide an opportunity for anyone interested in fungi and mycology to hear from a wide range of speakers, including scientific researchers, PhD students, field mycologists, conservationists, and others with expertise in mycological history, arts and culture. 

Talks usually take place on Wednesday evenings around the middle of each month.  They are advertised here on the website and via BMS social media, and are free to attend. You can find upcoming talks and register via Eventbrite. Recordings, where available, can be found on the BMS YouTube Channel

 

Chris KnowlesA beginners guide to fungal habitats in the UK

March 2024

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Chris Knowles is a field mycologist, tutor and digitiser at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. In this talk, Chris presents a back-to-basics look at the various ecosystems where fungi thrive, from ancient woodlands to urban environments. Each habitat presents unique challenges and opportunities for fungal communities, shaping their diversity and distribution; Chris discusses what this means for a forayer and how to plan around these challenges.

 

UnderstElaine Bignellanding a mould that infects human lungs: a journey from molecules to novel therapies

February 2024

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Professor Elaine Bignell’s work addresses the mechanistic basis of lung diseases caused by the major mould pathogen of humans, Aspergillus fumigatus. Major interests are the role of Aspergillus pH-sensing in pathogenicity, transcriptional regulation of host adaptation, and the mechanistic basis of tissue invasion during invasive fungal lung disease. In this talk, Elaine discusses how this work is leading to the development of novel antifungal therapies and vaccines, as well as the challenges of defining pathogenicity in Aspergillus fumigatus, which is ordinarily a common environmental mould.

 

Mark RamsdaleInsights into fungal education and outreach

January 2024

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Professor Mark Ramsdale - Director of Education at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and Chair of the BMS Fungal Education and Outreach Committee - outlines some of his recent experiences engaging the public in dialogue about fungi, with a focus on story-telling, providing hands-on experience, encouraging creativity, and planning for UK Fungus Day. Mark's talk also considers the gamification of mycology and the pros and cons of working with a range of media platforms.

 

Anastasia and BarshaFungi that affect our food and our health

December 2023

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Anastasia Sokolidi (Rothamsted Research, UK) and Barsha Kalita (Pondicherry University, India) are researching solutions for fungi that cause disease in food crops and in humans. In this talk, they each explain the background to their studies and outline how their findings could lead to potential solutions.

Anastasia: Early detection of airborne fungi for improved disease management in commercial UK glasshouses. Barsha: Identifying molecular targets in germinating spores of the mucormycosis mould Rhizopus delema.

 

 

Gordon RamageIs AMR significant in fungal biofilms?

November 2023

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Prof Gordon Ramage, Glasgow Calendonian University, is an international expert in clinical biofilm infections, with a particular focus on fungus (yeasts and moulds). In this talk, Gordon discusses the clinical importance of fungal biofilms and uses a series of studies to highlight the importance of inter-kingdom communities. The talk considers how these populations respond (or not) to antimicrobial therapies, and discusses whether these biofilm communities are drivers for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

 

BMS Talk speakers October 2023Fungi around the world

October 2023

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Three PhD researchers share details of thier projects. Reintroduction of threatened wood-inhabiting fungi - Joette Crosier, Natural Resources Institute and the University of Helsinki, Finland (pictured top right). Traits and host specificity infer different distributions for ectomycorrhizal fungi - Muyao Qi, Imperial College London and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK (pictured bottom). Yeast from mangrove ecosystems - Nimsi K A, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, India (pictured top left).

 

Geoffrey KibbyHow to write mushroom guides when everything keeps changing - tackling the impossible

September 2023

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How can one keep abreast of the ever changing taxonomy and nomenclature of fungi? Writing any guide book to fungi must seem an impossible task as the goal posts of mycology are forever being pushed back. In this talk, Geoffrey Kibby outlines some of the many resources that are available to help keep track of such changes, discusses how one goes about deciding which changes to adopt and which to ignore, and shares the joys and perils of self publishing. Geoffrey is senior editor of the BMS journal Field Mycology, a past President of the New Jersey Mycological Association and the author of numerous field guides to the larger fungi.

 

Aileen Baird and Rebecca Rivera Using fungi as tools in woodland creation and peatland restoration

August 2023

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Aileen Baird and Rebecca Rivera discuss their research into how the natural existence and functions of fungi can be harnessed to support effective woodland creation schemes and measure the progress of peatland restoration efforts.

The importance of fungi in the context of UK woodland creation, Aileen Baird, Natural England.

Fungi and other microorganisms as indicators of peatland response to climate change, health and restoration, Rebecca Rivera, Trinity College Dublin.

 

 

Fay NewberyLichenicolous fungi: an expanding area of mycological study

July 2023

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Dr Fay Newbery works at the Royal Horticultural Society as a plant pathologist, diagnosing diseases on garden plants. She is particularly interested in diseases caused by fungi, both in UK garden plants and in our wild flora, and has a keen interest in lichens. In this talk, Fay discusses how not all fungi that grow on lichens cause disease. In fact, lichenicolous fungi have a wide range of ecological niches on lichens, and Fay  describes how the varied morphologies exhibited by these fungi make them particularly interesting to study.

Eric Janke and Irina DruzhininaUsing DNA barcoding to identify fungi: two perspectives

June 2023

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Accurate identification of fungi is challenging: overall they are simple structures, and many fungi look very similar. Further, ecological adaptation means that the same species of fungus can appear to be different depending on its local environment.  The use of DNA barcoding as a molecular tool to assist with identification is increasing.  A short section of DNA from a specific gene or genes in the fungus (the ‘barcode’) is compared with a reference library of the same sequences to uniquely identify the organism.  In this talk, Dr Irina Druzhinina of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Dr Eric Janke of the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group present their views and experiences of using DNA barcoding as a method for identifying fungi. 

 

Jassy DrakulicFungi that harm and heal trees and gardens

May 2023

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Tree health is increasingly threatened by introduced organisms, with an average of 6 new organisms establishing in Europe each year.  Hear from Jassy Drakulic, RHS, about the fungal pathogens of concern in the UK and Europe and how stakeholders at all levels can help safeguard tree health for future generations.  Jassy also explores the fungi found in UK gardens and delves into the importance of fungal diversity to support general plant health and ecosystem functioning.

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Apple scab and potato scurf: the fungi infecting our food

April 2023

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Elucidating the impact of environmental factors on the ecological performance of Colletotrichum coccodes and Helminthosporium solani - Marta Sanzo-Miró describes how she aims to characterise the development of Silver scurf and the two Black dot isolates, on potatoes under simulated pre- and post-harvest conditions, to elucidate the effect of temperature and water availability on the growth of these fungal pathogens.
Don’t let apple scab spoil the bunch: insights into ascospore production dynamics - Katherine Stewart discusses how the sexual cycle of reproduction is initiated in V. inaequalis and how this influences orchard management practices.

David DenningClimate change, human fungal pathogens and antifungal resistance

March 2023

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Prof David Denning, University of Manchester, discusses  recent developments in the spread of fungal pathogens linked to climate change, the genesis of the WHO Fungal Pathogen Priority List, and highlights some new antifungals on the horizon.

 

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The dung lovers: an introduction to coprophilous fungi

February 2023

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Tony Leech, of Norfolk Fungus Study Group, reveals the fascination of investigating the numerous species of fungi that grow on herbivore dung. Although small, many reveal their beauty under the stereo microscope.

 

George Greiff.Bryophilous ascomycetes: a microscopic El Dorado

January 2023

Watch the Recording | References (as mentioned by George during his presentation)

George Greiff, University of Bristol, discusses how mosses and liverworts interact with ascomycete fungi, introduces the bryophytes as hosts, and gives an introduction to the main groups of ascomycetes he focuses on.  George also outlines his study methods and highlight a selection of his favourite fungi.

 

Liliane MukaremeraInvestigating Cryptococcus, a sugar-coated yeast

December 2022

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Meningitis caused by the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus affects half a million people and kills over 181,000 annually.  Dr Liliane Mukaremera (University of Exeter) explains why it is important to study Cryptococcus and outlines the research she is undertaking to investigate the fungal cell wall during infection.

 

PhD StuPhD Students - Novemberdents Present: Mycotoxins, Mycobiomes and Mycoparasitism

November 2022

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Claudia, Neelu and Nathan describe their PhD research in three talksBiocontrol of mycotoxigenic fungi by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts on coffee; Benchmarking the mycobiome; Looking deep inside: mycoparasitism in Basidiomycota.

 

Prof David NuttAre fungal medicines the future of psychiatry?.

October 2022

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In this BMS Talk, connected with UK Fungus Day 2022, Professor David Nutt (Imperial College London) explains the historic use of fungal products, especially psilocybin and how it is being developed as a powerful new agent for the treatment of depression and addiction today.

 

Martha CrockattThe role of citizen science in mycology.

September 2022

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Citizen science can be simply described as volunteers taking an active role in the scientific research process. The science of mycology has benefited hugely from the involvement of volunteers, especially, but not limited to, understanding the distribution of fungal fruit bodies in time and space.

In this talk, Dr Martha Crockett discusses the role of citizen science in mycology, focussing on fungal ecology and conservation, and how understanding the nuances of citizen science can increase the potential for impact of citizen science in mycology.
 

Alex_Victoria.pngPhD Students Present: Finding a way in - understanding & controlling fungal pathogens.

August 2022

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Alex Allman and Victoria Armer describe their research projects in talks on:  "Viral diversity and coevolution with fungal and oomycete pathogens" and "Unlocking the door: How Fusarium graminearum exploits plasmodesmata during host-tissue colonisation."  Alex works in the Agriculture, Health & Environment Department of the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, supervised by Dr Andrew Armitage, Dr Goncalo D R Silva and Prof Susan E Seal.  Victoria's research is funded by the South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership under the supervision of Prof Kim Hammond-Kosack (Rothamsted Research) and Dr Mike Deeks (University of Exeter).

 

Sean_Clare.pngGrassland fungi - recording and conservation in England.

July 2022

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Sean Cooch (Natural England)  and Clare Blencowe (Sussex Biodiverstiy Record Centre) offer two perspectives on efforts to record and protect grassland fungi: Waxcap grasslands in England: a new assessment of the distribution and conservation status and Local approaches to mapping mycologically-rich grasslands: integrating volunteer recording effort and conservation in Sussex.

 

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Investigating the cell biology of rice infection by the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae

June 2022

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Rice blast is one of the most serious diseases affecting rice cultivation around the world, claiming enough rice to feed 60 million people each year. When an M. oryzae spore lands on a rice plant, it forms an appressorium, a specialised structure that generates extreme pressure and breaks through the leaf cuticle into the cells. Prof Nick Talbot and researchers at The Sainsbury Laboratory are studying the chemical pathways in the fungus linked to function of the appressoria and the spread of the fungus within the plant. 

 

Liz BallouWhen scientists learn from patients: what do viral pandemics teach us about fungal infections?

May 2022

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Fungi are masters of taking advantage of changing environmental conditions to discover new ways and places to grow.  Dr Liz Ballou (Universtiy of Exeter) delves further into this concept by showcasing two examples of fungi that took advantage of viral pandemics to cause fungal epidemics in people. 

 

Marcus photo.jpgBreaking the mould: collecting and identifying hyphomycetes in the UK.

April 2022

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Hyphomycetes (anamorphic fungi) are generally neglected by field mycologists because of their inconspicuous nature. To the naked eye they may appear as ‘mould’ but, under the microscope, many species are highly attractive. In this talk, Marcus Yeo (previously Chief Executive of the JNCC, now retired) discusses the challenges of collecting and identifying these fascinating and diverse fungi.

 

Irina Petrova Adamatzky.jpgFungal Architectures: an artist's perspective.

March 2022

View a copy of Irina's presentation (PDF)

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Irina Petrova Adamatzky is a photographer and artist working alongside scientists in Fungal Architectures: a cross-disciplinary research project investigating the development of fully integrated structural and computational living substrates using mycelium-based composites.  Irina specialises in wildlife micro-photography and science fiction-inspired installations organically integrating living and artificial entities, often using retro, manual-focus lenses. In this talk, Irina outlines the Fungal Architectures project and shares some of her amazing fungus photography.

 

Feb speakers.pngPhD Students Present: apple replant disease, amphibian killer fungi and mycoremediation in Mongolia.

February 2022

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PhD students Chris Cook (NIAB/Cranfield University), Theresa Wacker (University of Exeter) and Jennifer Dranttel (De Montfort University) talk about their mycology research projects.

 

Medina-Vaya-Angel-Web.jpgMaking fungi travel through time to predict future food safety problems

January 2022

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In this talk, Dr Angel Medina-Vaya reviews the research of the Cranfield Applied Mycology Group - in collaboration with colleagues around the world - to figure out how environmental fluctuations are affecting the growth of some fungal pathogens and, most importantly, how they affect the ability of crop pathogens to produce mycotoxins.  These toxic substances produced by mould and fungi can harm or kill plants and animals and are of significant concern in food safety worldwide. 

 

carol 5.pngA truffler’s tale - hypogeous historical snippets and truffle fungi in the UK

December 2021

Carol Hobart describes the hypogeous (below ground) truffles and their diverse forms in the UK - some common, some rare,  and the history of truffle collection, as far back as the Greeks.   (This talk was not recorded.)

 

FPinzari_2.jpgThe fungi in skeletons: apatite leaching, from soil to indoor environments

November 2021

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In a study of fungal biodeterioration, Dr Flavia Pinzari examined the skeleton of a blue whale - the central exhibit in the Hintze Hall of the Natural History Museum, London. The skeleton was previously on display in the Mammals Hall, and has been exposed to this indoor environment for almost 90 years.  Mineral particles from the bone surface were found to be covered with a dense biofilm mostly composed of fungal hyphae. 

Flavia is lead researcher at the Institute of Biological Systems, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Rome, Italy. She is also Scientific Associate at the Botanical Diversity, Life Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London, UK.

 

UPFC speakers.pngColombian fungi - an opportunity for the future

October 2021

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The Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia (UPFC) project aims to enhance nature’s contribution to people in Colombia by: increasing and consolidating knowledge on Colombia’s useful plants and fungi and making it accessible for the benefit of the society; promoting a market for useful native species and their high value natural products and encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources that protects the environment and enhances biodiversity. UPFC is a 2.5 year initiative led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute. The project webpages can be found here. Speakers: Dr Ester Gaya, Dr Aída Vasco, Dr Viviana Motato-Vásquez.

 

Geoff Gadd.jpgFungi, metals and minerals: pollutant treatment, metal recovery and biodeterioration in the built environment 

September 2021

 Further reading

Prof Geoff Gadd's presentation will emphasised some important activities of fungal systems in organic pollutant degradation and the transformation of metal(loid)s for metal immobilization and biorecovery. It also considered the biodeteriorative properties of fungi regarding the destruction of mineral-based building materials, including concrete - which may have consequences for nuclear decommissioning and radionuclide containment - and biodeterioration in the built environment and cultural heritage. (This talk was not recorded)

 

Nathan-Smith.pngThe early history of British mycology

August 2021

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Nathan Smith presents an early history of mycology in Britain. He will explore its origins with the growth in popularity of the microscope before looking at the contentious early history of the British Mycological Society.

Nathan is an educator and researcher whose work is focused on the intersection between mycology,history, and museum studies. His work examines why mycology differs so substantially from its sister disciplines of Botany and Zoology. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and was awarded the William T. Stearn Essay Prize in 2019 for his work on the mycologist Henry Thomas Soppitt.

 

Ida DN.pngStanding up for a planet full of Life - Fungi, art and activism 

July 2021

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Ida Dalsgaard Nicolaisen is an activist, artist and amateur fungi enthusiast. In this BMS Talk, Ida speaks about visions for the future where we collaborate with other species - specifically with fungi - instead of exploiting or annihilating them. Ida also discusses the role of art in imagining and creating such futures, and the responsibility that privileged, resourceful humans have for standing up for those less so. 

 

Dr Greg Meuller.pngProgress and challenges in advancing fungal conservation 

June 2021

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The perception that fungi are not amenable to conservation assessments 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 Mueller's research focuses on the evolution, ecology, and conservation of fungi. He has conducted fieldwork throughout the world and is active in international fungal conservation efforts, chairing the IUCN SSC Fungal Conservation Committee and the Specialist Group on mushrooms, brackets and puffballs, and (with a colleague) coordinating the Global Fungal Red List Initiative.  

 

Sydney.pngThe impact of fire on fungal diversity 

May 2021

BMS Members only: contact us for access to the recording.

Dr Sydney Glassman (Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of California) had a rare opportunity to study the impacts of fire on fungi when her research plots burned down in two catastrophic Californian mega-fires.  Fires generally have a negative impact on fungal diversity but certain pyrophilous (fire-loving) fungi increase in frequency after such events.

 

PFara_21April_2.jpgSurvival of the fittest: the life and struggles of Helen Gwynne-Vaughan 

April 2021

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Dr Patricia Fara, Emeritus Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and former President of the British Society for the History of Science, delves into the life and career of fungal geneticist and former BMS President Helen Gwynne-Vaughan (1879-1967).  Dr Fara discusses Gwynne-Vaughan's successes and setbacks, set within the context of contemporary attitudes.  

 

Machiel-Noordeloos.jpgEntoloma revised: what is left of the traditional species concepts? 

March 2021

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Machiel Noordeloos gives an impression of the impact of ITS barcoding on the taxonomic concepts in the genus Entoloma: shifting species concepts, surprising new insights in the value of morphological and microscopical characters, and the advantages and limitations of these new insights.  

 

Jan Quinn.jpgKiller fungi: a clear and present danger to life on earth 

February 2021

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We share our planet with millions of different types of fungi, which perform numerous functions that make our planet habitable. However, there is a dark side to this Fungal Kingdom. In this talk, Prof Janet Quinn (University of Newcastle; BMS President) gives an overview of some of the planet’s fungal foes and how we can tackle emerging fungal infections.