Think your backyard is filled with just plants and animals? Think again! Fungi, which comprise an entirely different kingdom of the natural world, can be found everywhere in nature. These hardy, surprising organisms carry out crucial processes on Earth, like recycling dead organic matter.
Even so, fungi are still wildly understudied compared to plants and animals. Scientists want to learn more, and they need additional observations and volunteers to do it. Learn more about how you can get involved with the projects below!
The SciStarter Team
Did you know scientists still regularly find new species of fungi? Fungi species are still underdocumented, and mycologists are trying to catch up.
With Mushroom Observer you can record observations about mushrooms, help people identify mushrooms they aren’t familiar with and expand the community around the scientific exploration of mushrooms. Everyone’s observations are welcome!
A sourdough starter is an active colony of wild yeast (a fungus!) and good bacteria cultivated by combining flour and water and allowing it to ferment. Make your own sourdough, and study the different microbes that are the secret ingredient in the tasty bread.
Scientists want to know how different kinds of microbes affect bread’s taste and texture. Join now to help them find out!
Contribute observations of fungi to FunDiS.
Your photos help build a database of high quality observations accessible by scientists and conservationists used to catalog and protect fungi all across North America.
Did you know? Volunteers have submitted over 2 million mushroom and fungi observations to iNaturalist!
For tips on how to take photos that are identifiable, watch this recorded LIVE event: SciStarter LIVE #43: Here’s how to take great photos with your phone that can be used for science!
Contribute to the National Australian Fungimap Database by submitting photos or details of fungi in your neighborhood. Because so little is known about Australian fungi you may be helping to document a species new to science!
The SciStarter Podcast
Thousands of mycophiles took to the forest in October 2022 to document as many mushrooms as they could, as part of the Great North American FungiQuest. In this podcast, we spoke with Robert Courteau, project creator and also founder of the non-profit group Think Fungi.
Join the SciStarter team Tuesdays from 2-3PM ET to hear from project leaders, get tips on participating and learn about the impact of contributing to volunteer-powered science. Join in from anywhere via Zoom or watch the live stream on SciStarter’s Facebook page.
Oct 10: [REPLAY] It’s been a year since the Inaugural Great North American Fungi Quest! For one month last fall, citizen scientists across North America shared as many observations of fungi as they could. Within the first 9 days, they blew past their goal of 50,000 observations. By the end of the Quest, more than 148,000 observations were made by over 33,000 participants! There is so much data that they are still working through it this year. While they continue to work through the data this year, celebrate with us by watching Episode #12 in which Robert Courteau from Think Fungi and the SciStarter team chat about our favorite Fungi. Watch anytime on YouTube.
Oct 17: Help and Observe Migrating Wildlife with Fall Gardening Tips. It’s autumn, which means many animals across North America are on the move. Native plant expert Patti Ragsdale from BotanicalBelonging.org will share with us her best tips for maintaining a wildlife-friendly garden in fall. Then we’ll learn about ways you can submit observations from your yard to help scientists learn more about migrating wildlife.
Oct 24: How to find more science opportunities with Science Near Me. If you’d like to participate in more science-focused events and opportunities beyond citizen science, you need to know about Science Near Me. We’re meeting with Science Near Me co-founder (and SciStarter founder) Darlene Cavalier to learn about this great new resource.
Oct 31: Halloween Special! With arthropods all around, we’re “Never Home Alone.” Don’t miss this live and in costume demo of Never Home Alone! Members of the SciStarter team will be competing to find and document as many insects, spiders and other arthropods in their home and yard as possible, supervised by project leaders from the project. Are you home alone? (Streaming live to Facebook only, no registration required.)
ICYMI: Participate in the North American eclipse happening on October 14th!
Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer, discusses NASA science you can participate in before, during and after the upcoming eclipse, from wherever you, are during this recording of Do NASA Science LIVE!
Science Near Me
What’s happening near you today? With Science Near Me, find a broad range of local and virtual science-related discussions, festivals, policy forums and events. Discover activities to do at home, online, star parties with local astronomy clubs, science nights at nearby bars and much more!
The Latest Blogs:
Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!