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Susan Nuske

I am an Ecologist interested in investigating species interactions through molecular techniques. I am particularly interested in fungal interactions with other tropic levels (animals and plants) and how this maintains ecosystem functioning.


Lecturer in Truffle fungi biology course (Uppsala University, Gotland Campus, Sweden)

Lecturer in Ecology course (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden)


My current Postdoc investigates how fungi interact with the invasion ecology of lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta).

During my PhD I investigated the importance of declining mammalian fungal specialists for ectomycorrhizal truffle fungal dispersal.

Environmental analysis


->  Sanger and high-throughput DNA sequencing (Amplicon based)

-> Script-based statistical analysis in R (e.g.: Multi-variate and analysis of similarity statistics with sequencing community data and mixed effects modelling)

-> Collection and morpho-typing of colonised ectomycorrhizal fungal plant roots

-> Fungi, plant and mammal species identification and skills and experience in making good herbarium collections

-> Small-medium sized mammal trapping

-> Design and application of experiments independently and part of a team

-> Successful grant application writing (I was awarded with > AUD $15,000 in grant money during my PhD)


Invited Revisions

Journal of Ecology, Austral Ecology, Journal of Threatened Taxa, Biological Invasions, Plant and Soil

Awarded Competitive Grants

-> KSLA Travel Grant, 2019

-> Australian Postgraduate Award (scholarship for PhD), 2013-2016

-> Australasian Mycological Society Research Award, 2014

-> Wet Tropics Management Authority, Student Research Grant Scheme, 2015 and 2016

-> North Queensland Wildlife Trust, 2014

Prices and Awards

-> Gordon Grigg Prize in Vertebrate Zoology (Undergraduate Award for highest mark for the first attempt at the second-year course in the field of zoology), 2007


->  Two seminars at local conferences: Australasian Mycological Scientific Meeting (Canberra 2015; Brisbane 2014)

->  Three posters at international conferences: Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (Cairns, 2014) and International Mycological Congress (Thailand, 2014; Puerto Rico, 2018)

Presentation and workshops to local community groups and societies: Australasian Mycological Society, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Queensland Mycological Society and FungiMap Inc

Society Activities

Chair, Australasian Mycological Society Education Subcommittee

Member of the Red List Initiative for listing Threatened Fungal Species, Queensland Mycological Society

Member of the AMS Fungal Conservation Subcommittee (since it’s reinstatement in 2016)

Member of the International Society for Fungal Conservation

Past Student Representative, Australasian Mycological Society (2014-2016)

- As the Student Representative for AMS I organised an ‘Essential Skills for Young Mycologists’ workshop. I invited four established mycologists from four disciplines to give a talk to students about skills useful to becoming a successful mycologist. A summary is published in IMA Fungus (Nuske and Dearnaley 2015).



PhD in Ecology, James Cook University, Australia 2013-2017

    Title: "The importance of declining mammalian fungal specialists for ectomycorrhizal fungal dispersal.”

First-Class Honours BSc (Ecology), University of Queensland, Australia 2010

    Title: “Can noninvasive genotyping methods be used as an alternative to traditional population monitoring of the endangered bridled nailtail wallaby, Onychogalea fraenata?”

Bachelor of Science (Ecology and Zoology), University of Queensland, Australia 2009

Work Experience

->  Research Assistant (James Cook University, supervisors Dr. Sandra Abell and Dr. Susan Laurance, 2016)

Ø  Optimisation of PCR and sequencing of new species of truffles (hypogeous sequestrate fungi)

Ø  Field work to collect endophytic, arbuscular mycorrhizal and potential pathogen/saprotrophic fungi in rainforest drought experimental plots

Ø  Preparing of environmental samples for next generation sequencing of fungi

-> Tutoring for Field Ecology course, Fraser Island (University of Queensland, course coordinator Professor Myron Zalucki, 2011)

Ø  Led students in the field in small mammal trapping and in the laboratory for dietary analysis

Ø  Tutor students in analysing data and writing final report

Ø  Grade student reports

->  Research Assistant (University of Queensland, supervisor Dr. Steve Chenoweth, 2011-2012)

Ø  Maintain Drosophila (fruit fly) colonies

Ø  Oversee the move of the laboratory and initiation of new laboratory space

Ø  Manage and maintain laboratory equipment

Ø  Assist in performing quantitative genetic experiments

->  Volunteer (Vietnam, Animals Asia 2012)

Ø  Behavioural monitoring of rescued moon bears and sun bears

Selected publications

Nuske, S. J. et al. Ectomycorrhizal fungal communities are dominated by mammalian dispersed truffle-like taxa in north-east Australian woodlands. Mycorrhiza, 2019, accepted.

Nuske, S. J. et al. The endangered northern bettong, Bettongia tropica, performs a unique and potentially irreplaceable dispersal function for ectomycorrhizal truffle fungi. Molecular Ecology, 2018, doi:10.1111/mec.14916

Nuske, S. J. et al. Redundancy among mammalian fungal dispersers and the importance of declining specialists. Fungal Ecology, 2017, 27: 1–13.

Nuske, S. J. et al. Data on the fungal species consumed by mammal species in Australia. Data in Brief, 2017, 12: 251–260.

Nuske, S. J. & Dearnaley, J. Essential skills for young mycologists. IMA Fungus 6, 2015, 47–50.

Nuske, S., Fisher, D. & Seddon, J. Common species affects the utility of non-invasive genetic monitoring of a cryptic endangered mammal: The bridled nailtail wallaby. Austral Ecology, 2014, 39: 633–642.

Fisher, D. O., Nuske, S., Green, S., Seddon, J. M. & McDonald, B. The evolution of sociality in small, carnivorous marsupials: the lek hypothesis revisited. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2011, 65: 593–605.


Media engagement

Ecological Society of America - "Tiny truffle‐hunting kangaroos feast on forest fungi"

Science News - "Endangered northern bettongs aren’t picky truffle eaters"

WWF - Australia - "Northern bettongs facing extinction threat"

The Guardian - "'Drastic reductions' of Australia's northern bettong population reported"