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The Missing ‘F’ Word: Fauna, Flora and … Fungi

The Missing ‘F’ Word: Fauna, Flora and … Fungi

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  • Tue 3 May ’16, 5:30pm – 7:00pm


The Front Room Gallery, 10 Memorial Street, Queenstown


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General admission: $5.00


Catalyst Trust

Often forgotten yet truly prolific, the fungal kingdom is five to six times the size of the plant kingdom, with fungi more similar to animals than plants and significant enough to feature on our $50 banknote. Dr Peter Buchanan will give a popular introduction to this second kingdom of life: the functions of fungi and why they deserve recognition for their economic, health and ecological contributions.

“In an emerging post-antibiotic era we must go back to fungi – the source of penicillin – for new ways to defeat bacteria” he says. “Economically, fungi have massive national and global impact as the cause of most plant diseases, and ecologically, they are a critical food source for large numbers of organisms as well as supporting the nutrition of over 90% of plants.”

Dr Buchanan is engaged in a “quiet battle” to raise the profile of New Zealand’s 7-8,000 fungi species (though he estimates there are probably three times that number). But beware: “we don’t know if most of them are safe to eat”, he says. Sixty-two species are nationally critical.

Dr Buchanan, Science Team Leader for the Systematics Team at Landcare Research, and his colleagues undertake fungal research that includes managing over 100,000 specimens at our national Fungarium. He is participating in New Zealand’s annual Fungal Foray from May 5-9, held for the first time in Glenorchy and celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Register at connect@catalystnz.org. Please bring a chair.

(Photos copyright Landcare Research, apart from header image cc Daniel Pietzsch)

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