Lack of British Mycologists

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Lack of British Mycologists

Postby SteveMcBill on Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:58 am

The BBC News today (27/11/2008) has reported that the number of Mycologists (workers in fungi) has reduced markedly in Britain over the last few years and is set to reduce even further as people retire, etc.

It seems there is a definite need to encourage naturalists (and others) to take an interest in all fungi (including micro-fungi, yeasts, slime-moulds, etc.) and to record their finds as well as looking at the potential for making the study their career in this area.

What do others think ??

Cheers

Steve :)
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Re: Lack of British Mycologists

Postby John_Bratton on Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:12 pm

I'd want to see the evidence before accepting the view that mycologists are getting rarer. For a start, retirement doesn't mean you stop being a mycologist or any other sort of naturalist. Quite the opposite in many cases. I think this frequent claim that there is a shortage of competent naturalists is caused by increase in demand for our services, not by dwindling of our number. If naturalists are in decline, who is generating all the records and keeping the natural history book industry afloat?

John Bratton
Menai Bridge
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Re: Lack of British Mycologists

Postby Tom on Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:35 am

It looks like Steve may have heard the same BBC Radio snippet as me yesterday morning. The evidence was presented by the RBG, Kew where the BBC reporter was reporting from. Over the past year or two, I have spent time trying to arrange sessions with mycologists and the feeling I have got is not that there aren't any, but that they are harder to come across than experts in other taxonomic groups. In my opinion John is right to point out that it is the demand for mycologists may have increased, rather than the supply decrease, but this, by definition, would constitute a scarcity.

Fungi seem often over looked by many managers of wildlife sites, and I think it is no bad thing if mycologists are able to swell their numbers, not only to increase the number of records and recorded sites, but also to publicise a very large, important and sometimes over looked taxonomic group.
Tom Hunt, Record Enquiries Officer
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Re: Lack of British Mycologists

Postby John_Bratton on Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:05 pm

In which case, maybe I can plug my slim volume Habitat Management to Conserve Fungi, downloadable from:

http://www.ccw.gov.uk/publications--research/research--reports.aspx?page=7420&nCount=4

John Bratton
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Re: Lack of British Mycologists

Postby Tom on Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:44 am

Thanks John, that looks just the job. I am involved with a site in Mid-Cheshire and we are interested in making the management plan for the site include more references to fungi. What has held is back is a lack of knowledge and a lack of knowing where to find the knowledge. Your document looks like it could be a real help.

Tom
Tom Hunt, Record Enquiries Officer
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