Ep. 34: Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast & the Future of Biodiversity Research (feat. Christian Schwarz)

Today on Mushroom Hour we are excited to have the chance to hear from our guest Christian Schwarz. Christian is a Research Associate at the Norris Center for Natural History and he is coauthor of "Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast" – the bible for California mushroom foraging.

Christian Schwarz has been intrigued by fungi ever since he inherited his first mushroom guidebook from his brother. That guide turned out to be irrelevant to his area and so his first year of foraging was spent using just his own powers of observation. What can foraging for mushrooms without a guide bring to a forager's ability to develop their own libraries of sensory perception?

As the author of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, we couldn't ask for a better guide to help us explore the mushrooms of California. Christian explains the foraging season, different bio-regions and the variety of fungi, including a plethora of endemic fungi that call California home. The book itself is one of the best resources available for mushroom hunters along California's coastline. What was the inspiration for the book and what was that journey like of cataloging 900+ types of mushrooms? And as someone who traveled throughout the state hunting mushrooms, what are some of Christian's favorite areas in California to mushroom hunt? The answer might not be what you expect.

Christian may best be described as a "biodiversiphile" - someone who loves biodiversity in all of its forms. As he eloquently elucidates the future of fungal diversity research, it becomes clear that amateur naturalists and citizen scientists have a huge role to play in the raw data collection and cataloging of biodiversity. We'll learn about the "Taxanomic Triangle" and pick up invaluable tips on how amateurs can structure their observations to contribute the best data possible to be used in future biodiversity studies. What are the six pieces of information in the basic biodiversity suite on a given organism? What insights about evolutionary history are we gleaning based on the massive influx of biodiversity data gathering?

Episode Resources
Christian Schwarz IG: https://www.instagram.com/biodiversiphile/
Mushrooms of Redwood Coast (Book): https://bookshop.org/books/mushrooms-of-the-redwood-coast-a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-fungi-of-coastal-northern-california/9781607748175
Norris Center of Natural History: https://norriscenter.ucsc.edu/
Amscope Microscope: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=amscope&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
Southwestern Research Station: https://www.amnh.org/research/southwestern-research-station
California Channel Islands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Islands_(California)
Santa Cruz Mycoflora: http://scmycoflora.org/
Damon Tighe: https://www.instagram.com/damontighe/
Leptonia Carnia: http://inaturalist.org/taxa/67387-Leptonia-carnea

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