What does the public think about fungi?

One of the most exciting projects in our lab this year is an outreach effort that we are undertaking with our friends at the EcoTarium, a natural history museum here in Worcester. We will create interactive exhibits about the diversity, ecology and evolution of fungi, emphasizing decay. As a first step, the EcoTarium staff conducted a “Front End Evaluation” to assess the level of knowledge and the questions that Visitors have about fungi. The Ecotarium staff provided minimal information and then posed basic questions about fungi to a random group of visitors. The responses are informative, entertaining, and sobering. This baseline information will help us design the prototype exhibits. This work is part of the “Broader Impacts” of a new grant on wood decay that we recently received from the National Science Foundation (more on that project later).

the prompts

The prompts

Familiar questions

Familiar questions

3 more questions

Curiosity, surprise, and confusion

One of the great enduring questions of macroevolution

This is one of the great enduring questions of macroevolution

Evidently, there is work to be done...

Evidently, there is work to be done…