Jason Leane – “Citizen Science And The Discovery Of Novel Fungal Species”

Jason Leane – “Citizen Science And The Discovery Of Novel Fungal Species”
by Andrew Bryant, 21 Feb 2019.

Jason Leane is not a scientist – he works as a technologist at Brooks Secondary – but citizen-scientist he most assuredly IS.  So a lifelong interest in science and biology has translated into a most unusual and interesting hobby…and a fascinating talk for us!

In a nutshell, the advent of quick and affordable gene sequencing technology has allowed us to classify species based on genetics as opposed to physical features.  That’s why Jason has a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine in his kitchen…yes you heard that right…
yes, he’s been literally cooking DNA…
and learning lots in the process.

Jason’s been examining local mushrooms.  It seems he’s been finding some that may be slightly mis-categorized, wildly mis-named, or suspiciously far from their known habitat.  He may even have found a new species  – or ten.

Because as more data emerge, in the fungal world at least, we’re discovering that we’ve been wrong.  A lot.  Luckily, in science, being wrong means you get to learn something.  We learned a lot…from the largest organisim on Earth to amazing, real-time DNA analyes using a smart phone.

Amazing.  Keep on cooking!