Fungi Study Group

Fungi Books and Resources

Please check out our Fungi Books and Resources page, especially if you are looking for the Perth Fungi Field Book (revised 2017)

How this Group Evolved

In 2001 the first Australia-wide Fungimap Conference was held in Denmark in southwest WA. The Fungi Study Group of the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club was formed at the conference. Since then, the Study Group has organised a number of Fungal Forays, most notably over the Western Australian Foundation Day long weekends in early June. These Forays have been held at such places as Donnelly River, Dwellingup, Busselton and Wongan Hills. The Group is actively involved in Fungimap and members played an important role in the now unfunded and defunct Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project.

Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project

The Perth Urban Bushland Fungi (PUBF) began in 2004 as a collaborative project between the Urban Bushland Council and the WA Naturalists’ Club in conjunction with the WA Herbarium, with financial support from Lotterywest. Over the previous ten years, many well attended fungi forays and workshops had been held in urban bushlands of Perth. These events highlighted growing requests by community and professional land managers to address the generally low level of awareness and knowledge about fungi and their importance and role in bushland management. PUBF addressed this gap and was working to improve public awareness and knowledge so that fungi could become an integral part of long term urban bushland management.

Perth’s urban bushlands lie within one of the world’s 34 terrestrial biodiversity hotspots for conservation priority. Our region is the only hotspot in Australia. The fungi in bushland are part of our rich biodiversity and yet we still know very little about their identities, their distribution and their role in ecosystem functioning. Fungi underpin the long-term health and resilience of bushland. Building knowledge of the fungi and other organisms that help keep the region’s plants healthy is essential for effective conservation management of this hotspot region.

What the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project achieved between 2004-2009

  • Worked with many community groups to collect data on fungi and build inventories of fungi for Perth bushlands, in most cases for the first time.
  • Increased community skills and knowledge of fungi in bushland via surveys, workshops, walks, production of fungi kits and posters and presentations to bush care groups.
    Much more could be done if we could access resources to aid us.
  • Worked at teaching community group members to identify fungi and conduct fungi surveys.
    This is required as an ongoing service
  • Built the start of an accurately identified reference collection of fungi at the WA Herbarium accompanied by high quality data.
  • Fostered a volunteer and salaried fungi workforce in the field, laboratory and herbarium.
    Unfortunately when no more funding could be procured, this finished.
  • Encouraged Federal, State, and Local Governments to integrate fungi into natural resource management strategies for the Perth Region.

The loss of the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project has been a great blow to fungi knowledge and conservation in Western Australia.

In 2010 and 2011, the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club funded the Community Education Officer position part time so that fungi events could still be organised, while valiant efforts were made to secure funding to continue the very successful fungi workshops and forays.

In 2010 the Club was successful in obtaining an Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) Grant from the Federal Government for Dr Neale Bougher to research the Australian members of the large family Inocybiaceae (the LBMs = Little brown mushrooms) that are so important in Australian forests, but were in desperate need of concerted research.

From 2011-2014, Dr Bougher and Professor Brandon Matheny of the USA travelled, gathered and researched this family of fungi to write the definitive book on the family for the Fungi of Australia series. The manuscript that was delivered on time in June 2014 as per the contract, was tossed to and fro and subjected to delay after delay, due to severe funding cuts which caused much disruption within ABRS,

We were greatly relieved that the book was finally published in June 2017. The Club has a copy in the club library and they are available for purchase from the CSIRO online bookshop.

In 2017 the WA Fungi Group published the first ever South West WA Fungi Pocket Guide designed by Katrina Syme and Sapphire McMullan Fisher with photos purely from SW WA. Several members of our fungi group contributed photos.  These Pocket Guides are currently out of stock.

We also had copies of the Tropical Fungi Pocket Guide which was published in 2019, which had photos of Fungi from right across the top of Australia including the Kimberley. For some of these fungi, this was the first time photos had been published. These Pocket Guides are currently out of stock.

Want to participate?

Each year the Fungi Group organises some Fungi events during the Perth fungi season, winter: in June and July. Please check the Event Calendar in these times if you wish to participate.