Fungi were initially classified with plants and were a subject of interest for botanists; hence the influence of botany can be seen on their classification. In 1969 R.H Whittaker classified all living organisms into five kingdoms namely Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia. Traditionally the classification proceeds in this fashion: Kingdom - Subkingdom - Phyla/phylum - Subphyla - Class - Order - Family - Genus- Species This classification is too complicated to be dealt here. There are alternate and more practical approaches, one based on sexual reproduction and the other based on morphology of the thallus (vegetative structure).

Fungi are usually classified in four divisions: the Chytridiomycota (chytrids), Zygomycota (bread molds), Ascomycota (yeasts and sac fungi), and the Basidiomycota (club fungi). Placement into a division is based on the way in which the fungus reproduces sexually. The shape and internal structure of the sporangia, which produce the spores, are the most useful character for identifying these various major groups. There are also two conventional groups which are not recognized as formal taxonomic groups (ie. they are polyphyletic); these are the Deuteromycota (fungi imperfecti), and the lichens. The Deuteromycota includes all fungi which have lost the ability to reproduce sexually. As a result, it is not known for certain into which group they should be placed, and thus the Deuteromycota becomes a convenient place to dump them until someone gets around to working out their biology. 

  • Chytridiomycota
  • Zygomycota
  • Ascomycota
  • Basidiomycota
  • Lichens and Mycorrhizae
  • Dimorphic
  • Moulds
  • Yeasts
  • Mycelium

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