Fungal Ecology from the Sea to the Sky
Do you want to understand everything that fungi do in nature?
I know how confusing it is to unravel mycology's finer details. With few resources for studying fungal ecology available to the average person, the powerful, fascinating, and critical roles that fungi provide in the environment have historically, and unfortunately, been seen as a mystery-to-ignore by most scientists, naturalists, and environmentalists.
To help you break through this barrier and dive into the richness of all that fungi offer, I have condensed a lifetime of study on the topic into this meticulously crafted course to help you fully understand – and see – the world's fungi in all their glory. This is a potent, eye-opening study and one that deserves the longer session we are providing it in our course catalog.
I hope you are inspired and empowered by the new paradigms that it holds for you!
Fungal Ecology from the Sea to the Sky
Start Date: July 9
Duration: 14 weeks, with new material released on Tuesday of each week
(See below for full details on the course's structure)
It is no exaggeration to suggest that fungi – not plants nor animals – are the greatest architects of the natural world. Though such a notion may seem unbelievable at first, even a short study of all that fungi do in the environment can quickly lead to this perspective. Found from the bottom of the ocean to the heart of the Sonora desert, fungi are powerful, adaptive, and integral to their greater environment wherever they are found. They enrich soils, form complex symbioses with plants and animals, and help ensure that any environment can bounce back from even the greatest damage. No matter the constraint, fungi offer unique abilities to support their habitat and those they share it with to find a more resilient and healthier way forward.
In this course, you will learn about these numerous fungal functions to a professional and collegiate level, along with the hands-on skills needed to observe, document, and engage with the fungi around you. By the end of the course you will have developed a mycological lens for viewing and interpreting the health of any environment – a rarely encountered skill set that is essentially unavailable in schools and universities around the world, yet is critical for a truly holistic understanding of ecosystem dynamics. Whether you weave these skills into your love for the outdoors, couple them with research endeavors in the natural sciences, or fold them into a nature-based career path, we are sure the insights provided in this course will open new lines of thought for a lifetime or fungi-filled inquiry and discovery.
WEEK 1: Welcome to the World of Fungi
Orientation • Course Objectives • Fungal Evolution Introduction • Fungal Ecology History • Fungi in Traditional Ecological Knowledge • Current Frontiers • Why Study Fungal Ecology? • Rewilding with Fungi
WEEK 2: Fungi + Ecology
Fungal Biology • Mycological Terms & Concepts • Ecological Concepts • Fungi in Succession • Symbiosis • Mycomimicry • Human Disturbances & Fungi • Resiliency • Soils Pt. 1 • Fungal Ecological Roles Introduction • Honing the Mycological Lens (Landscape Reading)
WEEK 3: Fungi in Nutrient Cycling
Nutrient Cycling Introduction • Soils Pt. 2 • Carbon Cycle • Fungi & Climate Change • Nitrogen Cycle • Water Cycle • Phosphorus & Fungi • Minerals & Geomycology
WEEK 4: Lichens as Landscape
Lichenology Introduction • Lichen Structure • Lichens in Forests • Lichens in Drylands • Lichens as Habitat Indicators • Lichen-like Relationships • Surveying Lichens
WEEK 5: Animal–Fungal Relations
Fungi in the Human Gut • Human Mycobiome • Other Beneficial Human-Fungus Interactions • Fungi & Mammals • Fungi & Insects • Mycophagy in the Animal Kingdom
WEEK 6: Fungi–Plant Symbioses
Endophytic Fungi • Class 1 • Class 2 • Class 3 • Class 4 • Epiphytic Fungi • Microscopy for Endophytic Fungi Introduction • Mycorrhizal Fungi Introduction
WEEK 7: Mycorrhizal Fungi!
Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms & Truffles • Desert Truffles • Ericoid • Orchidaceous • Mycoheterotrophy • Monotropoid • Arbutoid • Ecto-Endo • Mycorrhizal-like Relationships
WEEK 8: All About Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi
History • Biology • Arbuscule Formation • Nutrient Exchanges • Isolation from Soil • Identification Introduction • Glomalin • Roles in Mycoremediation
WEEK 9: Vocal Fungi – Plant Infections
History • Famous Blights • Ecological Value • Influence on Timber and Other Industries • Mitigation Introduction • Rusts • Smuts • Powdery Mildew • Downy Mildew • Root Rot • Wilts
WEEK 10: Vocal Fungi – Animal Infections
Insect Infections (Entomopathogenic Fungi) • Nematode Infections (Nematophageous Fungi) • Reptile Infections • Mammal Infections • Human Infection
WEEK 11: Decomposing (and Recomposing) Fungi
Decomposition Cycles & Succession Introduction • Fungi & Carbon Budgeting • Mycorrhizal Decomposers • Chytridiomycotan Fungi • Zygomycetes • Dung-Lovers • Soil Molds • Soil Yeasts
WEEK 12: The Beauty of Wood Decay
Evolution of Wood Decay • Lignification & Delignification • Deadwoodology Intro • Wood Decay Succession • Brown Rot • White Rot • Soft Rot • Relevance in Mycoremediation
WEEK 13: Other Fungal Niches
Fungi in the Garden • Fungi in Compost • Human Habitat Fungi • Slime and Water Molds • Aquatic Fungi • Extreme Fungi • Antarctic Fungi • Atmospheric and Outer Space Fungi
WEEK 14: Conclusion
Seeing Fungi • Next Steps
Join Anytime!You can join this course at any time, with new material released to you each week, including video instructions, readings, project and activity descriptions.
Life Skills You Will LearnUpon completing this course you will be well-equipped to study, describe, and assess the roles fungi are fulfilling in any environment. Specific insights and skills you will be able to apply after this course include:
- Enhance any animal, plant, or ecological research with a fungal analysis – something that is often not covered at all in most learning institutions
- Walk in any environment and fully appreciate and describe the myriad of fungal functions happening all around you
- Describe in detail how fungi significantly influence carbon, nitrogen, water, and other nutrient cycles on the planet
- Promote fungal growth to improve soil carbon storage and mitigate climate change
- Design and manage habitats that are mycologically sound and fungi-promoting
- Interpret lichen diversity as an indicator of air quality and environmental health
- Observe plant-symbiotic fungi under a microscope
- Discuss fungal ecology with anyone
What You ReceiveEnrollment in this course provides you with these offerings:
- One year of streaming access to the entire course content, including video lectures and demonstrations, field recordings, reference and resource documents, and more!
- Lifetime access to this course’s section on the MYCOLOGOS® web forum where you can share ideas, questions, and success stories with a global community of fellow fungi enthusiasts
- Study and reference materials, and experiential projects related to each week’s content
- Instructions, materials lists, and support for projects to be done in home, in the field, and in your community
- Upon completion, a Certificate from MYCOLOGOS recognizing your comprehension of course materials and completion of the course’s requirements. Learn more about our Certificates of Completion here
The total value of these information-packed fourteen weeks of training, support, and resources could easily cost over $3,000 at other institutions!
Ways to JoinYou can sign up for this course at any time as enrollment is ongoing. To register, simply sign up at the link below. Within 1–2 business days, you will receive registration information to set up your account on the MYCOLOGOS Courses Portal, where the videos and other course content will be made available, and on the MYCOLOGOS Community Forum, where you can share ideas and research with your class peers.
You will then have access to the course's contents for a full year, during which time you can engage with the material and the associated projects and assignments at your own pace.
Once you are registered, new course content will be provided to your account on the MYCOLOGOS Courses Portal each week, and an email will be sent to you when the new content is available. You will be able to download all of the course’s texts and supplementary materials, though course videos will only be available online, so you will need a reliable internet connection (whether on your smart phone or computer) to watch them.
Who This Course is ForThis course is ideal for anyone interested in understanding the important and awe-inspiring roles that fungi fulfill in the environment, including:
- Fungi enthusiasts and mushroom hunters who want to go deeper into their appreciation for fungi
- Naturalists and Citizen Scientists wishing to learn all they can about the mycological wonders of the world
- Outdoor educators and park rangers wanting to fill the fungal gap in their knowledge set and educational curriculum
- Conservationists seeking mycological insights on habitat disturbances and protection strategies
- Soil scientists wishing to enrich their understanding on the roles fungi fulfill below ground
- Permaculturalists, urban farmers, and organic farmers seeking a comprehensive description of the many fungal functions in the environment
- Arborists and tree planters desiring a clear understanding of tree-fungus interactions
- Restoration ecologists needing fungi-informed landscape assessment strategies
- Botanists, wildlife biologists, entomologists, marine biologists, geologists, and mineralogists wishing to complement their expertise with fungi-centric paradigms
- Parents who wish to engage their children in the natural roles that fungi offer
At a minimum, students seeking certification will complete several quizzes and readings (from books purchased online or acquired through a library), create a survey of the macro and micro fungi in their local environment, facilitate one community-oriented project related to fungal ecology (various options for this will be provided in the first week of the course), and to document their practice of various skills presented throughout the course. Students will have one year after the course ends to complete these assignments and submit their final portfolio for review.
Full details on Certification requirements will be provided in the first week of the course.
You can learn more about our Certificates here.