Working Paper Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Canadian Fungal Research Network: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities

Version 1 : Received: 1 June 2020 / Approved: 3 June 2020 / Online: 3 June 2020 (13:45:17 CEST)

How to cite: Horianopoulos, L.; Gluck-Thaler, E.; Benoit Gelber, I.; Cowen, L.E.; Geddes-McAlister, J.; Landry, C.R.; Schwartz, I.S.; Scott, J.A.; Sellam, A.; Sheppard, D.C.; Spribille, T.; Subramaniam, R.; Walker, A.K.; Harris, S.D.; Shapiro, R.S.; Gerstein, A.C. The Canadian Fungal Research Network: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities. Preprints 2020, 2020060018 Horianopoulos, L.; Gluck-Thaler, E.; Benoit Gelber, I.; Cowen, L.E.; Geddes-McAlister, J.; Landry, C.R.; Schwartz, I.S.; Scott, J.A.; Sellam, A.; Sheppard, D.C.; Spribille, T.; Subramaniam, R.; Walker, A.K.; Harris, S.D.; Shapiro, R.S.; Gerstein, A.C. The Canadian Fungal Research Network: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities. Preprints 2020, 2020060018

Abstract

Fungi critically impact the health and function of global ecosystems and economies. In Canada, fungal researchers often work within silos defined by sub-discipline and institutional type, complicating the collaborations necessary to understand the impacts fungi have on the environment, economy, and plant and animal health. Here, we announce the establishment of the Canadian Fungal Research Network (CanFunNet, https://fungalresearch.ca) whose mission is to strengthen and promote fungal research in Canada by facilitating dialogue among scientists. We summarize the challenges and opportunities for Canadian fungal research that were discussed at CanFunNet’s inaugural meeting in 2019, and identify four priorities for our community: 1) increasing collaboration among scientists; 2) studying diversity in the context of ecological disturbance; 3) preserving culture collections in the absence of sustained funding; and 4) leveraging diverse expertise to attract trainees. We have gathered additional information to support our recommendations, including a survey identifying underrepresentation of fungal-related courses at Canadian universities, a list of Canadian fungaria and culture collections, and a case study of a human fungal pathogen outbreak. We anticipate that these discussions will help prioritize fungal research in Canada, and we welcome all researchers to join this nationwide effort to enhance knowledge dissemination and funding advocacy.

Subject Areas

Fungi; Mycology; Canada; Research; Community

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