By Margaret Munro
Federal cuts are a life-and-death issue for Lynne Sigler.
As curator of one of Canada’s largest collections of fungi, Sigler has 11,500 strains of living organisms under her care, from the fungi killing North American bats with white nose syndrome to soil microbes that help rare orchids thrive.
The microfungus collection and herbarium at the University of Alberta has been nurturing fungi for more than 50 years. And since 1990 it has been considered a “unique” national resource worthy of federal money.
No more. Funding for the collection, and dozens of other “major” and “unique” science facilities and resources across Canada, has been hit by federal cuts in what is being described as a “disaster” for Canadian science.
“It’s very dismaying,” Sigler says of a moratorium the federal government has slapped on the program that pays for the technician and supplies that help keep the fungus collection alive. Continue reading