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 on the website homepage and BMS social media, and are free to attend (registration via Eventbrite). Recordings of most of the talks can be found on the BMS YouTube Channel
Investigating the cell biology of rice infection by the blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae
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.
When scientists learn from patients: what do viral pandemics teach us about fungal infections?
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.
Breaking the mould: collecting and identifying hyphomycetes in the UK.
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.
Fungal Architectures: an artist's perspective.
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.
PhD Students Present: apple replant disease, amphibian killer fungi and mycoremediation in Mongolia.
PhD students Chris Cook (NIAB/Cranfield University), Theresa Wacker (University of Exeter) and Jennifer Dranttel (De Montfort University) talk about their mycology research projects.
Making fungi travel through time to predict future food safety problems
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.
A Truffler’s Tale - Hypogeous Historical Snippets and Truffle Fungi in the UK
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.)
The fungi in skeletons: apatite leaching, from soil to indoor environments
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.
Colombian fungi - an opportunity for the future
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.
Fungi, metals and minerals: pollutant treatment, metal recovery and biodeterioration in the built environment
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)
The Early History of British Mycology
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.
Standing up for a planet full of Life - Fungi, art and activism
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.
Progress and challenges in advancing fungal conservation
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.
The impact of fire on fungal diversity
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.
Survival of the fittest: The life and struggles of Helen Gwynne-Vaughan
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.
Entoloma revised: What is left of the traditional species concepts?
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.
Killer Fungi: A Clear and Present Danger to Life on Earth
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.