We did it!… Now what?
We hit our fundraising goal on Experiment.com. BUT!!! We still have about 1.5 days before the clock runs out at midnight on August 31st. As is mentioned on our crowdfunding page, the $5000 we intended to raise would cover approximately 20-25% of our 5-year goal to sequence 1000 species of macrofungi from the Southern Rockies. Any money we get in excess of this will add opportunity and flexibility towards this 5-year goal. And note that this 1000 species is only about half of the known diversity in the Southern Rockies, much less than that of the total possible diversity. So regardless, there’s still a long way to go.
Apart from DNA sequencing, what else can we use the money for? Well a big part of this project is to study the morphology of these organisms. The DNA sequence data should be considered a roadmap of sorts. A metaphorical bread crumb trail that leads us to a better interpretation of what the different mushroom species are. However, it’s better for everyone involved if we could provide field guides and tools that allow people to identify different species directly from their morphology. For this we will need to examine many collections from macro- AND micromorphological perspectives.
So, additional funding will allow us to purchase tackle boxes, and other collecting gear. We will also upgrade our tools for microscopy (finer forceps, additional cover slips, reagents to test reactions on mushrooms, etc.). And as we grow the collections, we will need more bin and specimen boxes to appropriately catalog and store the fungi.
Also, the money from crowdfunding will free up funds from our endowments, allowing us more opportunities to bring in visiting scientists who have expertise in fungi relevant to the Southern Rockies. And while this crowdfunding campaign will come to a close, we will still be accepting donations from people wanting to support the Project. However, we will mostly be focusing our energies in acquiring additional funding through grants that will support summer internships, as well as collecting and producing DNA sequence data.
So in the upcoming months, we’ll be sorting and identifying the collections and figuring out the next steps for the Project. Check back periodically to see what’s going on.