Fenwickfield's picture

more experts needed

I have noticed that rather a lot of fungi that are posted get very little to no response.I really find this frustrating as it does nothing to encourage people to study or take an interest in this subject which I love and find very fascinating.I know we have a couple of experts but no offence to them as they are probably very busy people who have job's and there lives cannot revolve around ispot we also have one very knowledgeable contributor who put's a large amount of input into this subject but also cannot be on ispot 24 hours a day.All I am asking is if you can find some more experts as we really need to raise the profile of fungi,how important they are in our ecosystem (vital).I try to help people but I am not knowledgeable enough as I have only been studying fungi for four years but have learn so much.I see new people joining ispot and posting some fungi with great enthusiasm then after a month with very little to no response to there posting they fizzle out including there interest.

I hope something happens and we can change this.



yvonnem's picture

I would like to contribute

I would like to contribute more but I find it difficult to identify the fungi from some of the photos.
Perhaps more advice about what is need i.e.: view of the gills, substrate etc would help.
So many fungi need microscopy to be able to give a definitive identification and it doesn't seem very useful to just say e.g. Russula so I tend not to reply. Sorry !


Fenwickfield's picture

not always the case

There are rather a lot of fungi that can be identified with good photo's and detailed information especially Hygrocybe,Amamita,bracket fungi ect,ect.The genus you have mentioned is on that cannot as it also need's chemical tests and microscopy but it is still worth replying to a post as it is how we learn if we start to be able to identify the genus then over time we narrow it down to exact fungi type.I would also say there are a few people who put excellent photo's and information on and still get no response.The one's who just put a photo on are usually unaware that more information is needed so I tend to ask them in the comments section if they can get that information for future finds because if we don't explain why it is needed how are they to know if there new to the subject.I am not asking for people like us to assist,I am asking for some professional mycologists to be involved.This is such an interesting subject and we desperately need more young people to take an interest and be the mycologists of the future.The other sad thing is fungi have no protection unlike plants,invertebrates,birds but hopefully this will change but it needs to be brought to peoples attention.


marksteer's picture

Very much agree with your

Very much agree with your request for more fungi experts to help with id's on iSpot.
I am an enthusiast but very much amateur where fungi are concerned. "The more I know the more I realise I don't know"!
Your help with 'Boletes' is much appreciated but I am still confused with the species I am finding locally!

The more I know the more I realise I don't know

wildaboutnature's picture

Was just about to create new

Was just about to create new topic for Marks's post which I've just read here: http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/356716#comment-125120
but felt that this forum topic is already in full flow and a very important point to note. Mark - you are particularly keen to get local experts on board as well which is obviously really important as local knowledge can be crucial when helping with IDs. This year I have managed to recruit several new experts in the South Wales region but alas no fungi expertise yet! Mentor time is running low for 2013 now but I will certainly take this message on board as we move into the autumn and try to talk to some of our local South wales groups with regard to recruiting their expertise.
Am on holiday from tomorrow until end of August but will follow this up on my return.

Clare Flynn

John Bratton's picture

Four fungi and dozens of

Four fungi and dozens of lichens are specially protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, schedule 8 as amended by various reviews. I don't suppose it does them much good, but they do have protection on paper.

AlanS's picture

Professional mycologists?

If anyone sees a professional mycologist who is able to identify a range of species in the field (rather from DNA for example), I suggest that they be photographed for iSpot. They are now a critically endangered species.

The fact is, a very large number of photographs of toadstools and other higher fungi are not certainly identifiable. Unless several clear photographs are provided, showing characters of cap, gills, stem, and they have at least taken a basic spore-print to get an accurate spore colour, then most of the time it's guesswork. Other features such as texture and smell are also vital. The best mycologist I know, an international expert but now retired, generally refuses to indentify fungi from photographs for these reasons.

Personally I do not have enough time to look through all the fungi (especially when the site is slow) - I look at those that take my interest, but I stick to lichens when time is limiting, and often I cannot even do that. This is a spare time activity, and really I should spend more time looking at my own material.


Fenwickfield's picture


I appreciate your response Alan and fully understand that you are very busy and also take on board your comments.I find it rather sad that this subject does not appeal to a wider range of people as it is fascinating.I am a member of The Association of British Fungi so will just have to start posting my more unusual fungi on there and sent them sample's too


marksteer's picture

Agree completely with you! I

Agree completely with you! I am only an ameteur but try to post multiple photos and as much info as possible

The more I know the more I realise I don't know

Martin Harvey's picture

Fungi experts

We would love to have more fungi experts on iSpot! If anyone is in touch with people who are expert or knowledgeable about fungi, and who might be interested in helping others via iSpot, I'd be most grateful if you could put us in touch via the contact us page.

We've approached various national and local fungus groups over the years to see if anyone would like to get involved and be badged on iSpot, but with rather little response. The experts who are active on iSpot do this voluntarily, and most experts are already very busy people, so we never assume that experts will be able to devote a lot of time to iSpot. But where people are willing to spend a bit of time helping others learn about fungi we are of course very grateful for their input.

As others have said, not all fungi can be identified from photos, but letting people know of these limitations is part of the learning process that iSpot aims to support. Hopefully a proportion of the people who may start off taking photos on iSpot will want to go on and join a local or national mycological group in order to take things further and learn the other techniques that are needed to identify a wider range of fungi.

So please do let us know if you know someone who you think might be able to help! They don't necessarily need to be a national expert or specialist, I suppose the main thing is that they should 'know what they don't know', so that we don't get over-confident identifications of things that can't be safely identified from the evidence available on iSpot. The only other requirement is to enjoy helping others via the iSpot online community. The more people we can get on board, the easier it is to share knowledge (and share the identification tasks that our existing, hard-working fungi enthusiasts take on!).

Entomologist and biological recorder

marksteer's picture

I am trying to encourage

I am trying to encourage South Wales expert to come on board but everyone has limited time.

I am very much an amatuer with fungi but want to learn more.
When I post observations I try to put as much information as I have. Lots of posts are single photo. How can iSpot encourage posters (correct English?!) to put more on their posts???

The more I know the more I realise I don't know