The Fungal Kingdom

Fall Open
Class Standing
Lalita Calabria
Paul Przybylowicz

Fungi play fundamental roles in terrestrial ecosystems as recyclers of organic matter and as partners with plants and algae to form mycorrhizae and lichens. From mushrooms, antibiotics, and high-fructose corn syrup to yeasts, acid-washed jeans, and bioremediation, the importance of fungi for humans and the ecosystems they inhabit is indisputable. This two-quarter, upper-level program will focus on understanding these unique and pivotal organisms.   

During fall quarter, our program time will consist primarily of fieldwork and labs where students will learn to collect, describe and identify fruiting mushrooms and lichens using dichotomous keys, chemical and microscopic techniques. We will learn about the natural history and ecology, as well as field-based methods for assessing biodiversity of lichens and fruiting mushrooms. Fall quarter lectures and workshops will cover biology, evolution, systematics and physiology of fungi and lichens. Seminarwill focus on exploring the scientific literature and developing technical writing skills.Therewill be multipleone-day field trips and two multi-day field trips. 

Inwinter quarter, our focus will shift more indoors to laboratory work with micro-fungi and genetic taxonomy techniques. Lectures and workshops in winter quarter will explore application of mycology to environmental problem-solving as well as the many ecological roles that fungi play:mutualists to plants and animals, nutrient cyclers, disease-causing agents, and indicators of environmental quality. We will expect students to research topics in the primary scientific literature and to summarize and share their findings with the entire class. Students will have opportunities for independent directed work, both individually and in small groups. Students will also have the chance to further their skills in technical writing, library research, critical thinking, and public presentations.Credit equivalencies for the program will include mycology, lichenology, lichen taxonomy, fungal taxonomy, and scientific writing. 

If you are a student with a disability and would like to request accommodations, please contact the faculty or the office of Access Services (Library Bldg. Rm. 2153, PH: (360) 867-6348; TTY (360) 867-6834) prior to the start of the quarter. If you require accessible transportation for field trips, please contact the faculty well in advance of the field trip dates to allow time to arrange this. 


8 credits of general biology including coverage of cell biology, molecular biology, biomolecules, organismal biology, ecology and  evolution. 

Signature Required

Prerequisites: 2 quarters of college biology, 1 quarter of ecology. Interested students should email faculty and explain how they meet the prerequisites. Signatures will be given as spaces become available.

Course Reference Numbers
Jr - Sr (16): 20087

Course Reference Numbers

Jr - Sr (16): 10047

Academic Details

ecology, biology, natural history, education, and environmental studies.


$550 in fall for overnight field trips & required lab fee, $150 in winter for required lab fee and supplies

Up to 32 credits of upper-division science may be earned by students who successfully meet all the program learning objectives. 


In Person (F)
In Person (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 A1107 - Workshop
<p>Fall winter 2024-25</p>


Date Revision
2022-11-15 $50 increase in required fee in winter quarter