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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Pushing the Frontiers of Biodiversity Research: Unveiling the Global Diversity, Distribution, and Conservation of Fungi

Niskanen, Tuula; Luecking, Robert; Dahlberg, Anders; Gaya, Ester; Suz, Laura M.; Mikryukov, Vladimir; Liimatainen, Kare; Druzhinina, Irina; Westrip, James R. S.; Mueller, Gregory M.; Martins-Cunha, Kelmer; Kirk, Paul; Tedersoo, Leho; Antonelli, Alexandre


Fungi comprise approximately 20% of all eukaryotic species and are connected to virtually all life forms on Earth. Yet, their diversity remains contentious, their distribution elusive, and their conservation neglected.We aim to flip this situation by synthesizing current knowledge.We present a revised estimate of 2-3 million fungal species with a "best estimate" at 2.5 million. To name the unknown >90% of these by the end of this century, we propose recognition of species known only from DNA data and call for large-scale sampling campaigns.We present an updated global map of fungal richness, highlighting tropical and temperate ecoregions of high diversity. We call for further Red List assessments and enhanced management guidelines to aid fungal conservation. Given that fungi play an inseparable role in our lives and in all ecosystems, and considering the fascinating questions remaining to be answered, we argue that fungi constitute the next frontier of biodiversity research.


Ascomycota; Basidiomycota; early diverging fungi; endemic; fungus:plant ratio; metabarcoding; IUCN Red List; in situ conservation; ex situ conservation

Published in

Annual Review of Environment and Resources
2023, Volume: 48, pages: 149–76

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    SLU Plant Protection Network

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