About this Research Topic
Fungi and fungus-like organisms are the second species-richest group after insects and provide essential ecosystem functions. It is estimated that 1.5 to 6 million fungal species exist in almost all kinds of ecosystems on earth. However, less than 10% of the estimated species are named. In addition, even for named species, their geographic distributions and host ranges are usually not fully understood. The knowledge gap of fungal diversity and distribution limits the utilization of fungal resources. It also hampers fungal conservation; how can we protect if we do not know what is present? Moreover, the phylogenetic relationships among fungi, especially early diverging lineages, lack support and are continuously emended. The unstable taxonomic system further limits the utilization of industrial, medicinal and edible fungi and the development of potential biocontrol strategies of pathogenic fungi.
There is a need to accelerate the description of fungi and fungus-like organisms and to facilitate the conservation of fungi and utilization of their resources. These organisms should be studied and documented with the help of currently standardized methods, including macro- and micromorphological observations and molecular phylogenetic reconstructions. In addition, when available, documentation may incorporate data from culture studies and high-throughput sequencing techniques. As the mycological community will move forward describing fungal diversity based on recommended best practices, the Fungal Tree of Life should be updated with multilocus phylogenetic data and, where available, phylogenomics data. The integrative taxonomy approach – incorporating all available lines of evidence – will further benefit the field in addressing broader questions relating to host specificity patterns, biological control, ecology, and fungal systematics.
In this Research Topic we welcome papers that explore the following areas of research:
- Species descriptions of fungi and fungus-like organisms following current best practices
- Patterns of biodiversity and DNA barcoding from various ecosystems, including extreme environments
- Species delimitation of economically, ecologically, and medically important fungi and fungus-like organisms
- Updated classification of higher taxonomic ranks in Kingdom Fungi
Original Research, reviews, opinions, and perspectives are all welcome.
Keywords: Taxonomy, DNA barcoding, diversity, conservation, Inventory, Biodiversity Digitization, Resources
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