A fungus from the family Psathyrellaceae decomposing bark chippings near the Sackler Crossing at Kew
kew.org > State of the World’s Fungi Symposium programme

State of the World’s Fungi Symposium programme

The symposium will be based around seven topical questions, with each session comprising talks from invited experts followed by a panel Q&A to discuss the emerging issues.

Please visit this page for up to date programme information. The exact timings and order may change slightly as details are confirmed.

Download the SOTWF Symposium Booklet


Thursday 13 September

09:00–10:00  Registration and refreshments

10:00–10:20  Welcome and introduction

                        Professor Kathy Willis – Director of Science, RBG Kew, UK

Session 1: Conservation of fungi: what, why, where and how?

Chairs: Dr Martyn Ainsworth & Dr Colin Clubbe – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

10:20–10:40  Dr Anders Dahlberg Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

                        Fungal conservation in practice 40 years' experience from the Nordic countries 

10:40–11:00  Dr Gregory Mueller – Chicago Botanic Garden, USA

                        Global red listing: assessing, communicating, taking action

11:00–11:20  Ms Giuliana Furci – The Fungi Foundation, Chile

                        Public policies for the conservation of fungi: how?

11:20–11:40  Dr Beatrice Senn-Irlet – Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland 

                        How to reach the goal? Fungal conservation in action – a workshop report from Europe 

11:40–12:00   Q&A panel discussion

12:00–13:00   Lunch

Session 2: Does all plant life depend on fungi?

Chair: Dr Paula Rudall – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

13:00–13:20  Dr Francis Martin – INRA, France

                        The evolution of modes of nutrition in forest fungi – from wood decay to symbiosis

13:20–13:40  Dr Mary Berbee – University of British Columbia, Canada

                        Fungi as saprotrophs, pathogens and mutualists with the algal ancestors of land plants

13:40–14:00  Dr Martin Bidartondo – Imperial College London & Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK  

                        Fungi and plants working together: from the conquest of land to the future of our forests      

14:00–14:20  Professor Lynne Boddy – Cardiff University, UK

                        Garbage disposal agents of the natural world: the role of fungi in decomposition and nutrient cycling

14:20–14:40   Q&A panel discussion

14:40–14:50   Group photo

14:50–15:20   Refreshment break

Session 3: And have you forgotten the lichens?

Chair: Dr Ilia Leitch – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

15:20–15:40  Dr Thorsten Lumbsch – The Field Museum, Chicago, USA

                        Diversity of lichens: cryptic diversity and poorly known tropics in fungal and photosynthetic partners

15:40–16:00  Dr Johan Asplund – Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway

                        How lichens impact on terrestrial community and ecosystem properties

16:00–16:20  Dr Christopher Ellis – Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK

                        The lichen symbiosis as a microcosm of climate change biodiversity risk 

16:20–16:40  Dr Ester Gaya – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

                        The chemicals that shape lichen diversity: secondary metabolites and their role in lichen evolution

16:40–17:00   Q&A panel discussion

17:00–18:00   Flash poster presentations

                       Chair: Professor Phil Stevenson – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

18:00–19:20   Drinks reception and poster session

19:30–22:30   Symposium dinner (pre-booking required, in advance of the symposium)


Friday 14 September

Session 4: Do fungi provide a greater ecosystem service or disservice?

Chair: Dr Paul Wilkin – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

08:45–09:05  Dr Christopher Fernandez – University of Minnesota, USA

                        Mycorrhizal fungi and carbon sequestration in soils 

09:05–09:25  Dr Rusty Rodriguez – Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies & University of Washington, USA

                        Plant adaptation to abiotic stress via symbiotic communication with fungal endophytes

09:25–09:45  Dr Diane G.O. Saunders - John Innes Centre, UK

                       Counterbalanacing biodiversity and managing crop pathogens 

09:45–10:05  Dr Romina Gazis – University of Florida, USA

                        Tropical agriculture: a never-ending battle against fungal pathogens

10:05–10:25   Q&A panel discussion

10:25–10:55   Refreshment break

Session 5: Fungal networking – who benefits?

Chair: Dr Bill Baker – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

10:55–11:15  Professor Toby Kiers – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

                        Tracking trade across fungal networks

11:15–11:35  Dr Laura M. Suz – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

                        Host specificity and drivers of change of ectomycorrhizal fungi

11:35–11:55  Professor Marcel van der Heijden – Agroscope, Switzerland

                        Networks of power and influence: mycorrhizal fungal networks drive ecosystem functioning in natural and agricultural systems

11:55–12:15  Professor Paola Bonfante – University of Torino, Italy

                        Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: a network of inter-kingdom interactions

12:15–12:35   Q&A panel discussion

12:35–13:25   Lunch

Session 6: Panning for gold in the mould: where do we find commercial value in fungi?

Chair: Professor Monique Simmonds – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

13:25–13:45  Christine R. Fischer – Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia, Spain

                        Digging for black diamonds: economic and environmental benefits for promoting truffles

13:45–14:05  Dr Mikako Sasa – Novozymes A/S, Denmark

                        The importance of microbial diversity in the hunt for industrial enzymes

14:05–14:25  Philip Ross – MycoWorks, USA

                        Rot on!

14:25–14:45  Dr Tom Prescott – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

                        Understanding how fungal and plant metabolites act: Can yeast give us the answers more quickly?

14:45–15:05   Q&A panel discussion

15:05–15:35   Refreshment break

Session 7: Exploring the dark taxa: when does a molecular signature become a species?

Chair: Fiona Ainsworth – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

15:35–15:55  Professor David Hibbett – Clark University, USA

                        Who gets to name fungi?

15:55–16:15  Professor Tim James – University of Michigan, USA

                        Can single cell genomics bring dark fungal taxa to light?

16:15–16:35  Dr Tuula Niskanen – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

                        Future bottlenecks in discovering and describing the dark taxa

16:35–16:55  Professor M. Catherine Aime – Purdue University, USA

                        Calibrating sequences to species: a specimen-based approach for illiminating fungal dark taxa 

16:55–17:15   Q&A panel discussion

17:15–17:25   Poster awards and closing remarks

                         Sponsored by the New Phytologist Trust & Botany One

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