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Fungal foray in Rotorua forests

Peter Johnston and David Hera, Mangapapa Conservation area

Autumn might be the cold rainy month everyone hates, but for a group of mycologists it’s their favourite time of the year. Autumn means fungi of every size, shape and colour make their appearance and passionate fungi forgers are in their element. More than 70 professional mycologists and enthusiasts from around the country attended this year’s Fungal Foray that took place in 11 sites around Rotorua in May.

The Foray, organised by FUNNZ, the Fungal Network of New Zealand, and supported by Manaaki Whenua, is an opportunity to collectively advance the knowledge of fungi in New Zealand, of which about 80% of species remain unknown.

Mahajabeen Padamsee, Mangapapa Conservation area

After the day’s foraging, the fungi are laid out on a specimen table, identified and labelled. They are then photographed, with some dried and packed up to be added to the national fungal collection, the New Zealand Fungarium (PDD) Te Kohinga Hekaheka o Aotearoa in Auckland. Researchers also dissect specimens, prepare material for DNA extraction and generate cultures from species of interest.

Duckchul Park, Mangapapa Conservation area

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Leader of Biota a portfolio of research at Manaaki Whenua at covering the taxonomy and biology of land plants, fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates in Aotearoa. His research interest area is the larger fleshy fungi both native and introduced.

Kim Triegaardt
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