Big data putting the 'fun' back in fungal research

Integrating national-level datasets into pan-European database to address ecological and biological questions at a global scale

Data resources used via GBIF : 245,382 species occurrences
Hypholoma fasciculare

Hypholoma fasciculare by Bent Christiansen licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Open access to biodiversity data presents an unparalleled potential for understanding many aspects of the ecology and biogeography of organisms. Many national initiatives have gathered species occurrence records from e.g. citizen science projects and museums, however, to answer global-scale questions, data needs to transcend national borders.

Striking in their absence from analyses of species’ shifts in response to climate change, fungi are the focus of this study, in which researchers compile nine national datasets from Europe into one meta-dataset, called ClimFun. Through nomenclatural harmonization, formatting and filtering, the resulting dataset spans 6 million records of more than 10,000 species.

To demonstrate the value of the database, the researchers show simple examples of climate-related shifts in the fruiting dates for two species, Amanita rubescens and Hypholoma fasciculare. The patterns found rely on data spanning more than 15 degrees of latitude and altitudes from sea level to 1700 m, and are as such only achievable because of the continental scale of the data.

Andrew C, Heegaard E, Kirk PM, Bässler C, Heilmann-Clausen J, Krisai-Greilhuber I, Kuyper TW, Senn-Irlet B, Büntgen U, Diez J, Egli S, Gange AC, Halvorsen R, Høiland K, Nordén J, Rustøen F, Boddy L and Kauserud H (2017) Big data integration: Pan-European fungal species observations’ assembly for addressing contemporary questions in ecology and global change biology. Fungal Biology Reviews. Elsevier BV 31(2): 88–98. Available at: