Prof. Dr. Meike Piepenbring, 

Tel.: +49 69 798 42222

Module information

Mycology, the science of fungi, deals with both true fungi and fungus-like organisms (slime moulds, Oomycota, etc.). The species diversity of fungi is estimated at approx. 3.8 million, although only about 140,000 species are known to date. This means that the group of fungi as a whole has been little investigated and offers great potential for exciting discoveries about diversity, the importance of fungi in ecosystems and concerning possible uses. The module focuses on fungi of different phylogenetic lineages with their diverse morphological structures and lifestyles. These are presented in the lecture, supplemented by information on ecological topics (destruents, mycorrhizal fungi, parasites on plants or animals), information on natural products and applied aspects. Concerning humans, fungi are discussed as harmful organisms, e.g. poisonous fungi, phytopathogenic and human-pathogenic fungi and moulds in buildings, or as beneficial organisms, e.g. edible fungi, fungi as suppliers of compounds useful in medicine or fungi in food technology. On one-day excursions in the vicinity of Frankfurt, fungi are discovered, observed, discussed and collected in natural ecosystems. In the laboratory, they are examined under light microscopes, key characteristics are drawn, and species are identified with the help of literature. Microfungi are available as cultures. Other topics include taxonomy, cultivation of fungi, scanning electron microscopy and the use of molecular sequence data to determine species and for phylogenetic analyses. 

In the seminar, the participants acquire and impart knowledge on selected topics of ecology, 

systematics, significance and uses of fungi based on scientific literature.

Time slot of the module - first half of the winter semester

Number of participants - 12

Special features - The module can be performed wholly or partly in English upon agreement with students.