Professor David Hawksworth CBE

Honorary Research Associate


Systematics, diversity, ecology, and nomenclature of fungi, especially ascomycetes (including lichen-fungi)

I have worked on diverse aspects of fungi for over 50 years, and I am especially well-known for estimates of global fungal species diversity, inventorying, improving nomenclatural systems, the use of lichens as pollution indicators, explorations of lichen-inhabiting fungi, and more recently the establishment of forensic mycology. I have published on mainly microscopic fungi, including ones of industrial (e.g. Penicillium), medical (e.g. Neotestudina), or plant pathology (e.g. Sarocladium) importance, and taxonomically complex lichenized genera (e.g. Bryoria, Parmelia s. lat.) using techniques ranging from natural products, ultrastructure, and now molecular phylogenetics.

I have travelled to 49 countries for fieldwork and scientific meetings, and have served as one of the editors of the last six editions of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, and three editions of the Dictionary of the Fungi. I have an extensive research record, including some 50 books that I have authored or edited, and over 600 scientific publications. I have introduced about 900 scientific names, including 80 genera new to science.

I am Honorary President of the International Mycological Association, and Editor-in-Chief of both IMA Fungus and Biodiversity and Conservation. My associations with Kew started in the mid-1960s, and I was the last Director of the International Mycological Institute (IMI) based at Kew until 1992 –– the roughly 400,000 IMI collections (including most of his own) were transferred to Kew in 2007. From 2000-2016 I held research positions in the Facultad de Farmacia of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

  • BSc (Hons) University of Leicester, 1967
  • PhD University of Leicester, 1970
  • DSc University of Leicester, 1980
  • FDhc, Filosophie Hedersdoktor, University of Umeå, 1996


  • CBE 1996
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Biology 1982
  • Chartered Biologist 1986
  • Fellow, Linnean Society of London 1969
  • Bicentenary Medal, Linnean Society of London, 1978
  • Acharius Medal, International Association for Lichenology, 2002
  • Josef Adolf von Arx Award, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, 2011 
  • Ainsworth Medal, International Mycological Association, 2014 
  • Founders Award, European Mycological Association, 2015
  • Fellow’s Medal, International Mycological Association President, International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) 1994-97
  • President, International Mycological Association (IMA) 1990-94
  • Honorary President 1994 on President British Mycological Society 1990
  • President, British Lichen Society 1986-87
  • Vice-President Emeritus, Fungal Nomenclature Session, 2018 
  • Visiting Professor, University of Southampton 

Boluda, C.G., Rico, V.J., Divakar, P.K., Nadyeina, O., Myllys, L., McMullin, R.T., Zamora, J.C., Scheidegger, C. & Hawksworth, D.L. (2018)

Evaluating methodologies for species delimitation: the mismatch between phenotypes and genotypes in lichenized fungi (Bryoria sect. Implexae, Parmeliaceae)

Persoonia 42: 75–100. 

Crous, P.D., Hawksworth, D.L. & Wingfield, M.J. (2015)

Identifying and naming plant pathogenic fungi: past, present, and future

Annual Review of Phytopathology 53: 247–267. 

Divakar, P.K., Crespo, A., Wedin, M., Leavitt, S.D., Hawksworth, D.L. et al. (2015)

Evolution of complex symbiotic relationships in a morphologically derived family of lichen-forming fungi

New Phytologist 208: 1217–1226. 

Hawksworth, D.L. & Lücking, R. (2017)

Fungal diversity revisited: 2.2 to 3.8 million species

Microbiology Spectrum 5(4): 79–95.

Hawksworth, D.L., Wiltshire, P.E.J. & Webb, J.A. (2016)

Rarely reported fungal spores and structures: an overlooked source of probative trace evidence in criminal investigations

Forensic Science International 264: 41–46. 

Kirk, P.M., Stalpers, J.A., Braun, U., Crous, P.W., Hansen, K., Hawksworth, D.L., Hyde, K.D., Lücking, R., Lumbsch, T.H., Rossman, A.Y., Seifert, K.A. & Stadler, M. (2013)

A without-prejudice list of generic names of fungi for protection under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants

IMA Fungus 4: 318–443.

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David Hawksworth 


David Hawksworth