From Fungal Morphology to Genotype

Project type: Charles University Mini-grant 2023

Flagship: Flagship 4

Project leader at CU: doc. Mgr. Ondřej Koukol, Ph.D. (Faculty of Science)

Participating universities: University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw

Fungal diversity oriented studies have essential role in nature protection, environmental impact assessment and monitoring surveys. Recent instrumental advances such as mobile DNA labs and MinION sequencing technology enable coupling of phenotype based identification with data on sequence similarities of selected molecular barcodes already in the field. This approach is rapidly developing and has a strong ambition to fill the gap in that the majority of fungi known to science is not represented in public databases by sequence of any barcode. Specialists experienced in using combination of both phenotypic and molecular data in fungal identification will soon represent invaluable team members.

Since 2020, the Summer School organized jointly by CU and UW proved this concept of combined methods in fungal research and we propose an extended activity including also UC and novel methodical approach. In 2023 Summer School will take place in Góry Stolowe, National Park that has been long overlooked in fungal diversity research. Participating students will be trained in the field sampling and phenotype-based identification of fungi coupled with analysis of DNA sequences. For the first time, we will use the MinION sequencing tool to generate sequences of selected molecular markers in the field. These activities will be combined with workshops on scientific drawing, voucher preparation and lectures given by internationally recognized European mycologists. Mycological survey in the NP also has potential to enrich global databases of fungal occurrences and deposit the most valuable material in fungaria.