Thursday, 16 November: Fungi: A 55-Year Adventure in Mycology

Speaker: Eric McKenzie, Myclogist, LandCare Research

Date: Thursday, 16 November 2023 at 6.00pm

Venue: Napier Sailing Club, 63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Image offered by Eric

Join us on a captivating journey through five and a half decades of studying microfungi, where adventure meets discovery. Explore the intriguing world of microfungi, which can impact both animals and plants. We’ll unravel questions like the consequences of fungicides on fungal ‘flora’ in sheep pastures, the dual influence of endophytic fungi in ryegrass on sheep and plants, the mysteries of chalkbrood disease in Samoan bees compared to those in New Zealand, and the personal repercussions of encountering rust fungus-infected plants. Discover how New Zealand’s fungi were meticulously examined following visits to remote islands, and why a book titled “Collect Fungi on Stamps” earned its place among the ‘Top 10 Weirdest Book Titles.’ Delve into the purpose behind collecting, identifying, and compiling plant disease lists for Pacific countries through extensive visits across the region. And finally, gain insights into consultancies and student supervision in South East Asia, which led to expeditions in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. This presentation offers a glimpse into a truly adventurous and fulfilling career in mycology.

photo offer by Eric

Eric, a distinguished mycologist, spent over four decades as the curator of the NZ Fungal and Plant Disease Fungarium, which houses a unique collection of fungi in the Southern Hemisphere. He holds a BSc (Hons) from Massey University and a PhD from Cambridge University. Throughout his career, Eric conducted extensive research on microfungi in pastures and contributed significantly to New Zealand fungal systematics. He played a pivotal role in plant disease surveys across the Pacific Islands and provided consultancy services in South East Asia. Eric is a Highly Cited Researcher and continues to work on Rust Fungi of New Zealand even in retirement.