Crepidotology: A taxonomic review of Eastern Australian species of Crepidotus (Crepidotaceae)

Project summary

This mycology project will focus on the macrofungal genus Crepidotus (Crepidotaceae), which form small, brown-spored, fan-like fruit bodies on wood and other organic matter. They are ‘rotters’, an essential part of nutrient recycling in woodlands and forests. Specificity is not well understood and not necessarily to host plant species, but may be related to substrate size, or decay class. While fairly common and widespread, these fungi are often ignored or recorded only as ‘Crepidotus sp.’ due to the lack of easily utilised characters (majority of taxa are dull brownish or whitish), and the lack of identification tools. The family has undergone significant changes as molecular data has become available, however few field guides or keys are available worldwide. This will be the first taxonomic revision of the genus in Australia, and will aid in placement of Australian taxa in a global context. In this pilot project we will revise Eastern Australian species, and look for overlapping taxa with New Zealand. In the longer term we hope to cover all Australian species.

 

This project aims to:

  • significantly advance knowledge of eastern Australian saprotrophic fungal biodiversity by identifying and revising an understudied and difficult taxonomic group from a broad range of habitats and bioregions of high conservation value
  • increased understanding of substrate specificity (i.e. host plant species, substrate size or decay class) will aid in management of conservation areas for nutrient cycling and functional health, and have the potential to aid assessment of the impacts of fire regimes and forestry
  • Fungal DNA barcode data generated for all taxa will be made available in public databases, adding to knowledge of fungal DNA data for Australia. This will enable a greater understanding of phylogenetic relationships of Australian taxa in a global context
  • review of the current taxonomy of eastern Australian species of Crepidotus, integrating referenced barcode material and morphological data
  • describing 1-2 new species and gauge the diversity of currently unnamed taxa
  • produce an image rich draft key to eastern Australian species for engagement with amateur naturalists and mycological groups.

 

Please help us

Please help us by sharing your data and images of Crepidotus, particularly those supported by voucher collections from across Australia. (All images are welcome, but we are particularly interested in images that are linked to vouchered collections lodged in herbaria, and collected under appropriate permits, remember landholder permission is always required).

Please contact Sapphire [link: Sapphire.McMullan-Fisher@rbg.vic.gov.au ] if you have anything to share.

 

Principal investigator Dr. S. McMullan-Fisher [link https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/staff/sapphire-mcmullan-fisher]

Co-investigator Dr. T. Lebel [link https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/staff/teresa-lebel]

 

The Crepidotology: A taxonomic review of Eastern Australian species of Crepidotus (Crepidotaceae) is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS) Bush Blitz Strategic Taxonomy Grants Scheme.