Forest Fungi Project
The Forest Fungi Project launched was launched in 2015 by the Lankau lab in Plant Pathology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The project is a citizen science initiative aimed to engage citizens in ecological science to deepen their understanding of climate change impacts, the role of soil biota (living organisms) in healthy ecosystems, and the practicalities of scientific research.
We asked citizens to walk out in the forest, identify tree species, collect roots and soils, and send it to the Lankau lab. The data documents how microbial taxa are currently distributed across host ranges, and how allow us to make predictions of future ranges with changing climates.
In the last two years, we have had more than 600 soil samples sent to the lab by park volunteers, youth programs, secondary and college students, and Master Naturalists from most states east of the Mississippi River. We estimate that over 350-400 participants have been involved.