​​Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria scientist wins prestigious international award in field biology​​ 

A mycology research scientist at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Dr Camille Truong, has been awarded the 2022 Maxwell/Hanrahan Individual Award in Field Biology.

Dr Truong will receive $100,000 in unrestricted funds, awarded to her personally. She is one of five award winners from around the globe this year.

“I am absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award,” says Dr Truong. “With this award I hope to develop an innovative research program in unexplored areas of Australia and give new opportunities to students to be trained in field mycology.

“There are literarily hundreds of fungal species that have not been described, which are at risk of climate change or the destruction of their habitat. It is therefore important to train the future generation of mycologists,” she says.

While the funding is completely unrestricted, this award is intended to support the winner’s individual work, elevate their diverse perspectives, and enable them to commit time to observation and experimentation.

In granting the award, the judges recognised the quality and creativity of Dr Truong’s research, dedication to field biology, and confidence in her potential for future impact in their field. They felt that Dr Truong holds great promise, and if allowed to fully develop her research program and capabilities, will make a big difference to her field.

Dr Truong’s research at the Gardens focuses on understanding and conserving fungi in native forests. It includes diverse aspects of diversity, biogeography, and microbial ecology of plant-fungal interactions, from describing new species and entire mycorrhizal communities to exploring the functional role of fungi in forest soils.

“Herbarium specimens are a central component of my research, and I cannot stress enough the important role of museums and botanic gardens in preserving these resources for future generations,” she said.