Fantastic fungi

A champion of the fascinating world of fungi is my pick among inspirational scientific figures on Ada Lovelace Day

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This time of year is perfect for getting out into the woods to see some spectacular fungi, at least here in the UK.  When I was an undergraduate, I was lucky enough to be taught fungal ecology by one of the most enthusiastic and engaging communicators of science you could hope for – Professor Lynne Boddy

Lynne has quite literally written the book on the ecology of wood-decomposing fungi, and in a 40 year career has mentored dozens of PhD students and countless undergraduates, always being generous with her time and knowledge. As a student, I have particularly fond memories of digging around in forest soil collecting samples with her on a research trip, unearthing cords of white fungal mycelia, like great networks of belowground arteries.  

As well as being the current holder of the British Ecological Society’s Marsh Award for outstanding impact in ecology, and former president of the British Mycological Society, Lynne’s outreach work has brought fungi out of the lab and onto our televisions, radios and public events – and no doubt inspired a new generation of ecologists in the process.  

You can listen to her here on BBC Radio 4 talking about her life’s work on the fascinating hidden world of fungi.

Simon Harold

Senior Editor, Nature Ecology and Evolution

Simon joined Nature Communications as Associate Editor for ecology in 2014, having previously managed journals in ecology, genetics and plant biology as Executive Editor for the BMC series. He joined the launch team of Nature Ecology & Evolution in 2016. Prior to his doctoral studies, Simon worked on research projects at Cardiff University, NERC Centre for Population Biology and University of Manchester encompassing fungal biology, community ecology and developmental morphometrics. He obtained his PhD from University of Leeds investigating the spatial ecology of host-natural enemy interactions, in collaboration with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford.