Utah Valley University

Since we are back in a face-to-face setting, we will be running this course as a course-based undergraduate research experience. This web page is still a very good resource for learning about fungi, but consider it “enrichment material” rather than a map of the course. It was built with a remote learning model in mind for when we were unable to do lab work in-person.

This webpage will host links to all resources and videos, and serves as a roadmap for the semester, listing readings, assignments, etc.

Course overview:

The course consists of several components:

  • Required readings
    • Textbook: Webster and Weber, Introduction to Fungi - 3rd ed. (specific sections)
    • Scientific papers: Usually weekly, linked below
  • Weekly quizzes on reading material (on Canvas)
  • Assorted “home mycology” lab, research, and field exercises (on Canvas)
  • Exams (3 of these, on Canvas, open-note)

The course is broken into 4 rough sections:

1. Getting to know fungal biology and major groups (get ready for a bunch of mycological terminology)

2. Fungi as the enemy (human and plant pathogens, fungal distribution, secondary compounds)

3. Fungi as a friend (mutualistic symbioses)

4. Molecular mycology (intro to modern methods and fungal bioinformatics)

Course assumptions (about you):

  • You know how to read a phylogeny and argue whether a trait is ancestral or derived
  • You know how to find and read a scientific journal article
  • You can write intelligibly
  • You understand the following terms and concepts:
    • monophyletic, taxon, clade, outgroup
    • central dogma of biology
    • chromosome, locus, gene, variant, phenotype
    • niche, dispersal, genetic drift, diploid/haploid
    • respiration, oxidation/reduction
  • In other words, you’ve had (and paid attention to) the material from BIOL1610 and BIOL1620

Course Syllabus

Course Text Book

My Hillbilly Mycology resource page

Good web resources

21st Century Guidebook to Fungi (This is pretty useful for this class!) Full download link for older edition (zipped).

“The Fifth Kingdom” website

Cornell’s Virtual Fungal Library (Extensive links to resources!)

Fungal Gene Database (Exactly what it sounds like.)

Emerging fungal diseases CDC resource page for those with a medical bent

Nice YouTube Channel with videos featuring do-it-at-home mycology

Weekly content:

Week 1


  • What are fungi? | Chytrids and divergence from metazoa | Fungal phylogeny

Readings and Assignments

  • Study the lesson slides (link below)
  • Read James, et al., 2006
  • Read Webster & Weber: 1.1 | 1.5 | 6.1
  • Canvas quiz on readings (due before class Wednesday)
  • Watch this video on how fungi changed the world. Watch it before next week.
  • Find and grow zygomycete fungi (Canvas assignment; video walkthrough below)
  • Buy this cool pocket microscope Amazon link (this is in lieu of your textbook fee)
  • Teams discussion on readings (Wednesday 1pm)



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