Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1–5 | Cite as

Fungal biodiversity: what do we know? What can we predict?

  • Gregory M. MuellerEmail author
  • John Paul Schmit
Original Paper


Although fungi are among the most important organisms in the world, only limited and incomplete information is currently available for most species and current estimates of species numbers for fungi differ significantly. This lack of basic information on taxonomic diversity has significant implications for many aspects of evolutionary biology. While the figure of 1.5 million estimated fungal species is commonly used, critics have questioned the validity of this estimate. Data on biogeographic distributions, levels of endemism, and host specificity must be taken into account when developing estimates of global fungal diversity. This paper introduces a set of papers that attempt to develop a rigorous, minimum estimate of global fungal diversity based on a critical assessment of current species lists and informed predictions of missing data and levels of endemism. As such, these papers represent both a meta-analysis of current data and a gap assessment to indicate where future research efforts should be concentrated.


Species lists Ratio data Endemism Host specificity Diversity estimates 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyField Museum of Natural HistoryChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana—ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Urban EcologyWashingtonUSA

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