Although this team usually comprises only a couple of people, other Desert Discovery participants often draw attention to sightings or bring samples of fungi into the base camp.
The ephemeral nature of the fruit-bodies of most species of fungus means that finding them is largely serendipitous and depends on a search coinciding with their location, their emergence and before they deteriorate or are consumed. Formal searches are conducted by the conventional head-bowed wandering walk of the amateur mycologist supported by eagle-eyed associates.
Where possible, surveys include a range of vegetation types.
Recording fungi is similar to that for plant species. However, as well as noting the scientific name (if known), general locality, date, geo-location and vegetation type in which the fungus is found, the substrate on which the fungus is growing is also recorded as well as the identity of the nearest tree/shrub – which may help in future studies of mycorrhizal associations. In situ photographs are taken as well as any other photos that may help with identification.
Collection Permits are obtained prior to each DD survey and specimens have been lodged with the West Australian Herbarium. As no mycologist is currently attached to the WA Herbarium, the advice of mycologists in the National Herbarium in Victoria is sought in identifying the species.
It is not common for biological surveys to include fungi so the citizen-scientist DD program has provided the opportunity to substantially extend the known ranges of many species as well as to discover new ones. The data is also recorded in the Atlas of Living Australia and, more recently, on the iNaturalist website.