Fungal Biodiversity of Hawaii with Nicole Hynson

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Fungal Biodiversity of Hawaii with Nicole Hynson

 Today we get an auditory transport to Hawaii to sit down with Nicole Hynson to chat about the fungal biodiversity of Hawaii. We focus on the importance of mycorrhizal fungi on the island and the relationship between these rare tropical plants and their fungal allies. We end the episode talking about how to inspire young kids to get excited about mushrooms and how to best teach kids in our school systems.

 Dr. Nicole Hynson is a Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. There, she teaches mycology and ecology as well as runs a research lab. The focus of her group's research is the ecology and evolution of symbiotic fungi. They are particularly interested in defining "rules of life" for microbial communities. Another focus of their work is endangered plant species conservation through a better understanding of plant-microbe interactions, including the mycorrhizal symbiosis between plants and root-inhabiting fungi. Nicole has been classically trained as a mycologist since her time as an undergraduate at the Evergreen State College under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Beug, she received her PhD from University of California Berkeley where she studied mycoheterotrophy in the lab of Dr. Tom Bruns, after which she worked in the lab of Dr. Kathleen Treseder at UC Irvine on fungal ecosystem ecology before starting her lab at the University of Hawaiʻi in 2012. Her favorite part of her job is getting students excited about fungi in the hopes of training the next generation of mycologists.


You can learn more about theirr work here: https://hynsonlab.com/ and here: https://www.c-maiki.org/



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TRANSCRIPT
Alex 0:11 Welcome, welcome. You are listening to the mushroom revival podcast. This is your host, Alex Dora. And we are obsessed with the wild, wacky world of mushrooms and fungi. We bring on guests and experts from all around the globe to geek out with us and go down this mysterious rabbit hole to figure out what is going on with these mysterious organisms. And today we have a special guests Nicole joining us from Oahu, Hawaii. And we're going to be geeking out about mycorrhizal fungi. So, Nicole, how you doing? Speaker 1 0:43 I'm doing great. Thanks so much for having me today. Alex 0:46 So for people who don't know who you are and what you're up to, what who are you? What are you up to? Speaker 1 0:55 Yeah, so I'm Nicola Hinson. I'm a professor here at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which, as you mentioned, is based on the lovely island of Oahu, and we are the flagship university for the University of Hawaii system. So my job day to day is really a mixed bag of teaching, research, mentoring graduate students, and just everything, fungi. Alex 1:23 And how did you originally get into mushrooms and? And fungi? Yeah, Speaker 1 1:26 so that's a good question. And I think my path to becoming a professional mycologist is probably similar to many folks out there that are intrigued by the world of fungi where I had friends when I was in high school in the Pacific Northwest whose family would go out and collect wild edible mushrooms. And so we would go hiking together with grandma, and mom and aunt and friends looking for edible mushrooms. And I had always liked hiking and just being outdoors, but realizing that I could combine those two things with also finding something delicious to eat was like a really big turn on for me to the world of fungi. And I never really thought about it as a career until I started my undergraduate studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. And there I was just really fortunate to have an amazing group of mentors from the psychological world like specifically Dr. Michael vieweg. And Dr. Paul purrs Beloved's who just did an amazing job of introducing young scientists or burgeoning scientists, such as myself into the world of fungi, because I thought at that time that I was going to go into studying plants. And I think what turned things around for me to focus more on fungi was just that, from taking botany classes, I kind of got the sense that like, we know so much about plants. And then when I took my first mycology course, I was just shocked by how little we knew about fungi. And when I learned specifically about the mycorrhizal symbiosis between plants and fungi, I was just like, okay, like, Mike drop, this is perfect for me because I can marry my love of plants with my newfound interest in fungi. And from there, you know, I just went forward in various different positions as with the Forest Service as a research technician, I ran an environmental education program for at risk youth through the YMCA. I did a year with AmeriCorps, doing conservation work in the Pacific Northwest, followed by your as a research technician in the lab that would become my PhD lab at UC Berkeley, where I was again, under an amazing mentor, Dr. Tom Bruns. So I just have had like a series of fortunate events of exposure to just really great people that have been amazing influences on my career. And yeah, I guess now, myself being a professor for over a decade, my hope is that, you know, maybe I can have a little bit of an impact on those that I get the opportunity to train and interact with. Alex 4:22 That's awesome. I was just super close to going into Evergreen. And I think within a couple of weeks before I was supposed to go I switched it last minute. And I always wondered what my path would be like if I if I went and studied under Michael vieweg. We luckily had the honor to bring him on to the podcast and was a great episode. So for people who want to listen to him, he's he's an amazing mycologist and, and now you're here so. So what, what is the fungal diversity like on the Hawaiian Islands, on Big Island, Oahu. Uh, wherever you've, you've studied and are knowledgeable, knowledgeable about? Speaker 1 5:06 Yeah, I mean that that's a great question. And what's kind of interesting that you know, some of your listeners may already be aware of is that there's this enormous diversity of fungi that goes completely unnoticed by just our naked eye or, you know, observations that we might make when we're out and about in nature, or even in our backyards. And that's just because of the ephemeral and microscopic nature of many of these fungi. So there's a lot that if they do form fleshy fruit bodies that you might notice, they only do so for a very short period of time. And then there's others that, you know, they're, they're never going to be producing showy mushrooms and their reproductive structures are just things that exist inside a leaf or in the soil or inside the gut of a bug even. So, a tool that we use regularly in our research to understand the diversity of fungi in Hawaii, is DNA sequencing. And this is just because we can get a fingerprint of the community of these fungi using molecular tools like DNA sequencing, that goes beyond what you can just see through observations, either under a microscope or with the naked eye of this fungal diversity. So through DNA sequencing, DNA sequencing, we've learned that the diversity of fungi in Hawaii is actually far above many other places in the world. And that was a bit of a surprise, right? Because the Hawaiian Islands are the most remote island archipelago in the world. So you know, we're basically on these defunct or active volcanoes, they're middle of the Pacific. So for things to get here, you know, they get here basically, by improbable means. So to find through these, you know, advances in molecular techniques using DNA fingerprinting, that we have this enormous diversity of unseen diversity, fungi was a bit of a surprise. Alex 7:12 Yeah, I was on Big Island earlier this year. And I wasn't expecting the, the, the low amount of like Basidiomycota diversity. And what I heard from a lot of foragers is there's tons of plants. But if you're going for if you're trying to fill your basket up, right, for the culinary mushrooms, it's a bit harder than a lot of places like on the mainland that probably like Pacific Northwest is probably a little different. However, just looking at your research, one of the papers that you you wrote a couple of years ago was that showed that native Hawaiian plants had more mycorrhizal connections than mainland plants, which I thought was crazy. So why why do you think that is? Why do you why do you think there's less kind of flesh, fleshy body mushrooms and more of this microscopic world beneath the soil? And, and why in the middle of the ocean, these this group of islands are just have this immense biodiversity of mycorrhizal fungi. Speaker 1 8:31 Wow, that's a lot of questions. But, you know, all very good ones, and ones that we spent a fair amount of time thinking about here. Yeah. So why don't we have more fleshy fungi show a fleshy fungi. I mean, you can go to other islands even and find quite a bit of fleshy fungal diversity. So I'm thinking about time that I've spent in New Zealand, for example. And I think probably the most straightforward answer for that, especially around the realm of like fleshy edible fungi is that we don't have the hosts trees that support many of our favorite edibles. So things like shad, trails and porcinis. These are involved with obligate symbiosis with host trees through the mycorrhizal symbiosis. And we don't have those hosts here in Hawaii. So we only have one native ectomycorrhizal host tree. So Ecto mycorrhizal fungi are those that when they're interacting with the host plant, they form a sheath on the outside of the route. And this is the site of exchange for carbon and nutrients. So the fungus is providing increased access to important soil nutrients for the host plant and this is the next Change for carbon that feeds the growing fungus. So these Ecto mycorrhizal fungi, they tend to partner with things like pine hoes, oh, COEs. In New Zealand, we see them with north of faggus. But here we don't have native conifers. And we also don't have native oaks. So we're missing this whole group of plants. And then in turn, we're missing these fungi too. We do have a lot of separate trophic fungi, as you might imagine, in the tropics, right? It's wet, it's warm, things are rotting. Things are rotting, left and right, whether you want them to or not. And sometimes these separate troves can produce, you know, big showy fruit bodies, but oftentimes, you know, they're actually producing very small, little LBM. So things that you might, you know, rather kick than picked as Deva or used to say. So, yeah, I think that that's part of why we're missing a lot of these big showing mushrooms as we just don't have their obligate hosts. And then why to get to the kind of second part of your questions, then why is it that we find that more plants in Hawaii tend to form mycorrhizal associations then, on average on a continent? Yeah, that's a great question and one that we're still kind of scratching our heads on, because the kind of fundamental theory about how organisms in general colonize really remote islands is that they shouldn't require obligate synbiotic, especially those that are not vertically transmitted. And by vertical transmission, I mean, some Beyonc that you inherit from parent. So in the case of something like the mycorrhizal symbiosis, a plant is producing seeds, and those seeds are dispersing independent of the dispersal propagules of the fungus, right, so the fungus is producing spores and they're dispersing. So in order for the mycorrhizal symbiosis to even form in the first place, you have to have a compatible host and a compatible fungus interacting in nature. So you have to have two independent dispersal events and then have these organisms actually find each other. So the prospect of something like that happening in such a remote area, or a remote set of islands, like Hawaii seems relatively low compared to somewhere like a continent. So why is it that that we find that the prevalence of the mycorrhizal symbiosis among our native flora is higher than on continents? Well, my best guess is that it has something to do with the fact that we have many rapid radiations of single plant colonies. So we have a single plant that has gotten here and then rapidly evolved into numerous new species of plants. And it may be that the ancestral state of that original colonists required a mycorrhizal symbiotic that happened to already exist here. And they came into contact. And then as these plant species evolved and evolved into new species, they just retained that mycorrhizal status. Alex 13:38 So talking about native and non native plants, and I know, it's a bit of a controversial topic, especially around time of when when does something become native or non native, when you're zooming out on the big timescale of things. But in in terms of Hawaii, there's a more recent colonization by humans, which have brought a lot of non native plants recently. And I don't know, do we have enough research before and after to show the effects of the fungal diversity? I'm sure there's research now, testing zones that haven't been affected as much and more you know, zones that the plants have been replaced with non native species, but I'm just curious the differences between those two? Speaker 1 14:33 Yeah, yeah. So that's a good question. And, you know, just to back out a little bit before we get too into the weeds on that one. What constitutes a native fungus is something that we still don't have a great sense of. And that's primarily because fungal biogeography Coffee or understanding the distributions of fungus globally is a hot area of research and one that we're working really hard to, you know, get better distribution maps for fungi. But we're just not there yet. You know. So you can look at distribution maps for plants for birds for insects, and those are pretty well populated. Distribution maps for fungi, on the other hand, really are not. So it's still very much a mystery for many of our fungal friends of you know how far afield they can live. So here in Hawaii, we have a field guide called mushrooms of Hawaii, done by Dennis stager, Dan and Don homies. And they have a section in that book that's dedicated to what they consider Hawaii's native mushrooms. The way that they determined for the purposes of this field guide, whether a mushroom was native to Hawaii or not, was whether it had only been in counted and what are encountered and what they considered intact native habitat. So these are places like, you know, higher elevation forests that have been primarily protected from pests, or they just are too remote to have been invaded by pests. And if mushrooms were found in these types of habitats, and then not detected anywhere else, whether that be through DNA sequencing and comparing those sequences to global databases, or just through observational approaches of you know, going out and looking for them across Hawaii and other places in the world. If there was no records of these, then they would get called a native mushroom. There's stories, though, that even since the book was published, that some of these things that are considered native to Hawaii have since been detected elsewhere. So part of it is we just need more people out there looking for mushrooms into some of these distribution maps, right. And that's where things like aI naturalist, you know, can really come in handy. So, please, if you're out there listening and you see a mushroom, take a picture with a naturalist and give us the geolocation it's going to help us build these distribution maps. Alex 17:32 And when they go ahead, yeah, go on. Speaker 1 17:36 So when we're thinking about, you know, here and a place like Hawaii that yeah, has been so heavily impacted by invasive species. How can we determine when we're looking at our fungal communities, you know, are these primarily native or not? Or are they a mix? It's hard to say with certainty. But from our research, what we have found is kind of a mixed bag. So, you know, specifically when looking at mycorrhizal fungi and in this case, looking at our buzzkill mycorrhizal fungi, which is the most common form of the mycorrhizal symbiosis. We've compared native forests to non native forests, as well as native forests to pastures that have been reforested. And in some instances, like here on a wahoo, we find that these non native forests actually have a greater diversity of our best girl mycorrhizal fungi than our native ones. In places where restoration has happened, where they're trying to take back, abandoned pastures and recreate a forest, a native forest, we've found that the diversity of mycorrhizal fungi seems to be about on par with that, that you find in our native forest, but the composition of these communities of fungi differ significantly. And that's probably in part owed to this kind of legacy effect, if you want to call it a the site's historically being occupied by non native pasture grasses. Alex 19:22 Has there been any research about the growth effects of inoculating an invasive invasive plant with say, native local species of mycorrhizal fungi? Would it? Would the plant act any more or less invasive, with more local fungi in in symbiosis with it? Does that make you question makes sense? Speaker 1 19:50 Yeah, it makes sense. And that's a great question. And that's actually like in the there's a subfield that just focuses on CO invasions. Oh, are invasive mycorrhizal fungi and invasive host plants relative to native host plants. And you know, right now that field is a little bit split in terms of the evidence of how invasive plant species behave in the presence of novel mycorrhizal fungal communities. So, there's some studies that show when you introduce a new host plant to a novel mycorrhizal fungal community that they actually outperform the native host plants, while others show that the benefit is more towards the native hosts and less towards those invasive or new introduced host plants. And then there's some studies where it's just kind of a wash, where both invasive species and native species benefit from these local like arisal fungal communities. Alex 20:59 You know, I, I just interviewed someone from Tokyo. And he was doing some research on basically manipulating pathogen, plant pathogen, fungi into acting mutualistic. And just just either activating or deactivating this gene cluster. And, you know, whether it's, it switches from a pathogen to Simba, which is crazy, and it's like us, you know, if our, if our gut biome is out of whack them, our whole character and personality changes, right. And it's just the way it shifts my view of biology, that it's, it's, it's a lot more what's the word like mechanistic? Or it is kind of like an algorithm in a sense, where, you know, it kind of questions like freewill. And in a sense, where it that organisms are really just at the whim of microbiology, in a sense of, of their makeup, and microbiology really has an impact on whether the organism grows or is happy, or is is acting in a certain way. We really have Yeah, it's, it's it's kind of a crazy world that we live in that these things that a lot of times we can't even see has this big of an impact on the world around us. So I'm Speaker 1 22:48 curious, I think what you're talking about is basically a renaissance that we're experiencing in the field of biology right now, with a recognition that, you know, we are inhabitants in a microbial world. You know, the, the theme that I like to remind students and folks interested in symbiosis is that, you know, the term symbiosis simply just means living together. So there's no inherent good or bad and that concept of symbiosis. And in fact, the closer you look at many of these symbiotic interactions, the more we'll find that they exist across the spectrum. And well, in situations like the mycorrhizal symbiosis, it may, more often than not fall along the beneficial range of this spectrum where both the host plant and the fungus are benefiting from the interaction more than if they were living independent of one another. There's certainly plenty of examples within what we think of as a mutualism of cheaters or more weedy species on both the host plant and the fungal side of it. Alex 24:14 It's not talked about as much, maybe maybe it is in your world, but I just don't hear as many people talking about endophytic fungi. There's many more people researching mycorrhizal fungi. Do we know if there is much of a relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and endophytic fungi? I assume. So, obviously, everything is connected, but I'm not sure how much research is in that area. Or if you know of it, Speaker 1 24:45 yeah, I mean, so we we, in my lab, part of our research interest is endangered plant species conservation, and how we can use local fungal inocula Both above and below ground to support endangered plant species propagation exit to and then their health when they're put back into the wild for restoration purposes. So, you know, we like to think of ourselves as maybe producing something equivalent to like myco vaccines for some of our plants, where if they're being grown in a, in a greenhouse under very sanitary conditions, you know, they're not inheriting their wild microbes like they would out in nature. And these are the microbes that could potentially provide really important services like protections from disease or, you know, increase access to nutrients for growth and reproduction. And these just are not generally found in these greenhouse situations for for rare plant propagation that's starting to change a little bit where there's some interest in bringing, or rewilding plants, when they're in these captive situations prior to putting them back out into the wild. And that's a big part of what our work has been is looking at if you do you know, rewild the microbiome of endangered plant species. What what does that do for the plant? Is it actually helpful and in one of our experiments, we looked at this, what you're kind of calling like crosstalk between endophytic fungi and mycorrhizal fungi, where we inoculated the leafs of an endangered meant with a local yeast that is the fullier yeast. And then we inoculated the roots of this meant with local mycorrhizal fungi from the historic range of this plant, which was completely extirpated from the wild. Part of the threats of this particular plant species has been facing is from powdery mildew. So from a pathogenic fungus. And so we thought, you know, if we could kind of build a super plant where the plant had this beneficial fully, or yeast that had some recognition as a potential myco parasite, so as long as it eats other fungi, if we could add that to the lease, and we knew that this was a yeast that existed with the relatives of this plant in the wild, and then if we could kind of bump up the overall health of the plant by using local mycorrhizal fungal inocula to help the plants just be more vigorous, that they might have a better fighting chance of surviving when put back into the wild. So we did this experiment in captivity, where we did these inoculation trials with either just this fully or yeast, just the mycorrhizal fungi or what we call like our super plant with the combination of both, and then expose these plants to the powdery mildew pathogen. And a bit to our surprise, we thought that for sure, in terms of staving off disease, that our super plant treatment would be the winner because it kind of had the best of everything. It had the beneficial roots and by ants through the mycorrhizal fungal connections and then these beneficial yeast on the leaves. In fact, we found that the treatment that was the most successful for staving off disease was just the fullier use treatment alone. Despite the fact that the mycorrhizal fungi did help the plant become more vigorous. So we found there was greater concentrations of things like leaf nitrogen and phosphorus in these mycorrhizal plants. But the incidence of disease was the lowest when just the full year yeast was present. So we kind of scratched our heads around that result of like, Why didn't our super plant perform the best? And, you know, we we don't we haven't done a follow up study to this. But what we think might be going on is that there could be demands for host resources from both these simple yawns that are kind of right, yes, colliding against Yeah, in competition with each other. So that's then leading to less defense on the plants part against this pathogen, so the fungi are more beneficial. At least the fullier ones are more beneficial when they're alone than when they have to compete with mycorrhizal fungi for Plant Resources. Alex 29:57 That makes sense. Yeah. And I love the phrase that you use rewilding plants. And it makes me think of, I can't remember when this study came out with this bacteria, mycobacterium Vaccae AE, I think is the name. That we found out that just digging your hands and soil, you get this bacterium, which increases serotonin levels. So, you know, as humans are going more and more into cubicles and doors and who are interacting through screens and things like that, and we're not going outside as much as you know, it's like rewilding humans as well. I think, you know, every everyone needs a good dose of, of beneficial microorganisms. So, but, but that's a really interesting discovery with the fullier. Yeast. I'd be interested to, to hearing more about, if you ended up doing a follow up study on what you find. What would you say? I mean, you're, you're researching so many things. I mean, you just published a paper about coral, the coral reefs. So I mean, you're up to a lot, I don't know if you can pin down what what the hardest part of, of your research is, on on fungi. And just in general, what, what keeps you up at night? Speaker 1 31:30 I mean, mostly what keeps me up at night as my seven year old. But beyond that, I think, you know, the most challenging part of my research is just that I wish I had more hours in the day to do it. You know, I feel like, we are just at the tip of the iceberg of understanding some of these things that we've been discussing earlier in this podcast today. And, you know, we're also very interested in things like microbial food webs and how interactions between macro organisms and micro organisms within food webs are affecting their functioning and their efficiency. And it's just so much exciting work is happening in general in the field of microbiome studies right now. And I honestly just feel like, you know, could spend many, many lifetimes doing this, and still not get near as close as I might like, for some of the the answers that I'm seeking. So Alex 32:41 if you had unlimited funds, you know, just to you could swipe your credit card forever. And team, you know, you could handpick the best team in the world, as many people that you could pick. And time as well, you know, you had a limitless pill that just you didn't have to sleep, you could just keep going same with all your team, you know, and unlimited equipment access to the best labs ever, you know, what, what would you what would be, you know, your your first thing that you would do? Speaker 1 33:16 Yeah, I mean, I would solve the extinction crisis. And so I think that microbes play a really important role in the solution to that global issue that we're facing right now. So that's what I would put my, my time, effort, money and personnel towards is just figuring out microbial solutions for some of these global challenges that we're all facing. Alex 33:54 And I'm just curious first for someone, I was going to ask this question before, but we got into talking about other things. But um, I am, I am curious about when you're doing DNA analysis, and you're in the field collecting? Do you go to a native plant or a tree and then you're like, Okay, let's go six feet out, let's take a soil sample, and then put it through a seed, and then somehow, I'm not I've never done DNA analysis. So I'm not sure how the process works. But in terms of doing it, I've only done it for a single species and never multi. So I don't know what the process of analyzing, you know, whole fungal or microbial communities looks like. So I don't know if you can walk through kind of what that looks like from the field to the lab. Speaker 1 34:48 Yeah, I mean, the fields the fun part. And then the, the lab part, you know, is also interesting just in terms of like, extracting DNA Going through that whole process of getting down to the molecules, but really like where the work comes in is the computational side of working with big data. So, you know, we know that the microbial world is vast and diverse, especially in habitats like soil. So with the advent of things like high throughput sequencing, which allow us to look at these really diverse communities, these aren't data that we can just keep on our laptops, and, you know, a Google sheet, we require heavy computational power, and some understanding of computer science and coding to really disentangle these datasets. So right now, you know, a huge focus of training for people that are interested in microbial ecology, or microbiome science, in general, is getting trainees up to snuff with understanding how to use some of the computational tools that have been developed for analyzing these very big datasets. And it can be a pretty steep slope for somebody that's just kind of coming into it. And that's the case for a lot of the graduate students in my lab. And they spend, you know, oftentimes, like upwards of, you know, a few months just getting comfortable working in programming languages in order to just get to the point where they can start analyzing these really big datasets. So one of the biggest changes since the advent of these high throughput sequencing technologies is that we now basically are required not just to be biologists or microbiologist, but we also have to be data scientists and computational biologists, at least enough to understand the basics of how some of these bioinformatics packages work. And be a, you know, basic users of them, if not much more in depth generators of you know, new software or new code to work with these big datasets. So that's a big change, just in my time in academia, of studying fungal communities, is that really you have to be to some degree, a bioinformatician, as well as a biologist and ecologist. Alex 37:45 How do you see AI and and rapid technology growth having an impact on on that? Speaker 1 37:54 Yeah, I mean, that's a good question, too. And one of our recent projects is in collaboration with someone from our information and commute computer science department here at the University of Hawaii, who specializes in machine learning. And his role in that project is basically to help us better predict how changes in these complex microbial communities could have downstream effects on things like ecosystem processes, like carbon storage, nutrient cycling, as well as things like the health of macro organisms. So using some of the machine learning tools that he's you know, very fluent in our hopes is that we can kind of partner with these big data sets generated through high throughput sequencing, to then start making predictions about how changes in community membership might affect really important processes and ecosystem health and host health. Alex 39:07 This is a big question. But if you could talk to fungi and ask them anything, what, what would it be? Speaker 1 39:17 Yeah, that's, that's a fun one. I saw this question in our notes prior to our chat today. And so I was kind of thinking about it a little bit. On my way to work this morning, and I even asked my husband who's also mycologist. You know, what would you say if you could talk to them? And he said, Well, I'd ask him, is it fungi, or fungi? I love it. That's great. And I thought that was pretty appropriate. But you know, I think like in the broader sense, how I might interpret that question is like What is it that I want to know that I don't feel like we know enough about the fungal world? And you know, my answer to that is that I think, with the advent of some of these techniques that we've been discussing, like bioinformatics and high throughput sequencing, we've started to do a pretty good job of describing who's there just in terms of, you know, the diversity and the differences in the community composition of these complex microbial communities and all sorts of different habitats and hosts around the globe. But what we really need to start getting at is, why does it matter? You know, does greater diversity or does a different community mean a different function? And what are these functions that different members of these communities are capable of How flexible are these functions? And that's where, you know, I, I'm really excited to see the field moving into over the next 510 15 years. Alex 41:08 Is your seven year old mycologist as well? Well, Speaker 1 41:12 so in my office, I have a picture hanging up of a bunch of little colorings done by her class when she was a kindergartener of mushrooms with the green Alex 41:26 background. So that's yeah, so that's, yeah. Oh, I love it. And Speaker 1 41:33 so that was from a visit that I did to her class, where we just wanted to learn about the different parts of a mushroom. So we talked about the cap and the Stipe and the gills, and handed out, you know, different species of mushroom that you can just buy in your grocery store and just had the kids with each with their own mushroom and find those different features. So you know, we're talking about five and six year olds, and the product was in the end, but they just produced this really cool poster where they drew their own mushrooms and then labeled all the parts that we had discussed. So you know, is she a burgeoning? mycologist? Maybe she's been forced into it. Both both of my kids do enjoy all things fungal for sure. Nice. Alex 42:31 How old your other kid? Oh, cool. And you wrote an article in 2009? About how to inspire the youth to get into mycology? How do we do that? Speaker 1 42:47 Yeah, I mean, I think it can be these kind of more formal interactions of going into the classroom and just getting kids over the kind of like, you factor of like, oh, mold or, like, gross. I don't like to eat mushrooms. Like I don't like sauce on my spaghetti or like whatever it is to just getting them more curious. But I think any way that we can help young people pursue curiosity, whether it's curiosity about the outdoors, or just curiosity about how life on this planet has come to be whatever it is, like, do it, you know, just get young people curious. Because not only do we need more mycologist we need more curious people, and we need more scientists. And that's really at the heart of any scientist is a sense of curiosity. Now, how do we get more folks into you know, our favorite field, which is the study of fungi, that that one has been a bit of an uphill battle. I do feel like fungi are having a moment right now, which has been great. I think that there's a lot more citizen science projects happening around things like mushroom surveys, I think today or yesterday was the national myco blitz day. So go out and, you know, survey your local park or even just your backyard for mushrooms and record those. So there's been some more organized efforts towards getting people engaged in the fungal world. And I think that those need to continue. I think part of the bottleneck that we're at right now is the number of experts that are familiar with identifying mushrooms and understanding the biology and ecology of fungi is either plateaued or may even be in a state of slight decline. And so it's just getting more people engaged in the field, and then providing opportunities for these expert trainings, whether they're through, you know, formal things like a graduate degree or informal things like going on a foray with, you know, expert identifiers. I think those are all great paths to increasing awareness of the importance of this, you know, huge kingdom of organisms that is still really under studied. Alex 45:31 And if, you know, we have listeners of all ages, all different various levels of expertise and mycology, from people who have their PhD and mycology to people who don't know anything, there's probably maybe first episode. So for the people listening, that are inspired by you and want to follow in your footsteps. And they're like, I want to be a professional mycology researcher full time, and this is what I want to do with my life. What advice would you have for them? Speaker 1 46:06 Yeah, I mean, that's a that's a great question. I think like, among my colleagues, like we've all had slightly different routes to ending up in the, you know, these positions as professional mycologist. But I think kind of harkening back just to the beginning of our conversation, one thing that we could all agree upon is just that we found at some stage in our academic development, amazing mentors. And so I would just encourage those folks that are interested in, you know, Mike illogical studies as a profession, to just do their homework and start looking at who else is out there, that has kind of paved that path before them that's either, you know, in their area, their to graphic area, or that they might even just be able to connect with through other types of workshops, or meetings, and, and just start trying to form those connections. And, you know, it might even be that there's a an amateur Mycological Society in your town that has a guest speaker, and that guest speaker is someone doing research in a local university, and there's opportunities to go into the field with that person, or there's opportunities to volunteer in their lab. So I would just encourage people to try and find those connections. Alex 47:36 Well, then, I've checked out your website, it's a great website, and I've scrolled through your massive ResearchGate. Where, what are other areas I don't know, if you're on Twitter AX, or if you just want to shout out any, any way that people can, can follow you and your work. Speaker 1 47:54 I think the best way to keep tabs on us is just through an sind lab.com. Alex 48:00 Great, awesome. Well, thank you for coming on. And this has been a an amazing conversation. And I'm sure people are gonna love it. So thank you for for coming on. And thank you everyone, for tuning in and tuning in to another episode of the mushroom revival podcast. We love you very much. And we're excited that you like mushrooms just as much as we do. And if you want to support the show, a really good way is just leaving a review and telling your friends family about the podcast and just, you know any fun facts that you've learned about mushrooms and fungi. It keeps the mycelial web growing and gets more people jazzed up about it. And more people out in the woods and rewilding ourselves in symbiosis with nature, and other ways that you can support we don't have like a patreon to directly support the show, but we have a website mushroom revival.com We have organic functional mushroom gummies and tinctures and capsules and powders that you can pick up to support your health. And for people listening, we have a VIP coupon code just for listeners. And that code is pod treat. So you can use that for a surprise discount. If you want to win some free goodies. We have a giveaway in the bio, and we pick a winner once a month that you can win some free goodies. We also have a bunch of blogs, all of our show notes and podcasts are on the website as well. We have free ebooks that you can download. We have you know recipes and awesome all great stuff on there. And then we have my newest book, The Little Book of mushrooms. Cute little table coffee, coffee table book on the website as well. So as always much love and may the spores be with you You Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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