|Rambold, G; Stadler, M; Begerow, D: Mycology should be recognized as a field in biology at eye level with other major disciplines – a memorandum, Mycological Progress, 12(3), 455–463 (2013), doi:10.1007/s11557-013-0902-x|
Fungi are key players in terrestrial ecosystem functions. They are not only indispensable symbionts of most of the terrestrial plants, but can also interact with almost all organisms and are the major decomposers of organic matter. Indeed, they are involved in most ecosystem services, so much that life on earth would not have evolved without them. Competition among fungi and with other organism groups has driven evolution of offensive and defensive mechanisms, including the production of secondary metabolites, which continue to be widely unexplored. In addition, fungal plant parasites threaten the global agricultural production and are therefore of highest relevance for human health and survival. Given the ecological and economical relevance of fungi, advancement of other biological and physical sciences are impeded because mycology – the science devoted to the study of fungi – is insufficiently recognized as a major field of life science and supported in basic and applied research and economic contexts.