36,864: funding received in 2021 (in U.S. dollar). This includes a PurSUiT grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation, which covers the stipend of the second PhD student I am co-advising (with Cathie Aime), Helen Law, who will start in January 2022. The total amount of this grant was a dazzling $1,499,207, divided over five co-PIs (Aime, Dick, Haelewaters, Quandt, Savchenko). This does not include the €400,000 grant from the Czech Science Foundation that I applied for, which would have been my first grant as a sole PI. I was so bummed, but I am already writing another one, to be submitted in a few weeks time!
17,285: the highest number of impressions received by one of my tweets in 2021. The tweet was about a bat with abnormalities on its face. I still don’t know what they are, perhaps eggs of mites? Poor bat though!
11,222: number of visitors to this website in 2021. This year marks the first time that more than 10K visitors browsed my website, and it is almost double as much as in 2020 (5,813 visitors). In December 2021 alone, I had 2,214 visitors—more than ever before in a given month. Over 40,000 visitors have visited my website in almost seven years time. I don’t know if that is a lot for this sort of thing, but it sounds like a lot to me.
1,001: number of citations in 2021. IN A SINGLE YEAR! My total number of citations has increased to 2,522. I keep repeating myself; when I had just started out as a Master student, I was reading papers without realizing that someone was behind them, or often more than one someone. Nowadays I am that someone myself. I write papers (heck, I teach about writing papers!) and they get cited by other researchers. Crazy! I have come a far way from that boy who barely struggled his way through the first two years of high school.
420: number of co-authors in 2021. This number seems to keep increasing, from 210 in 2019, to 388 in 2020, and now 420. I have a very collaborative mindset so I don’t mind. And to be honest, I am working on a few projects with, uh, many collaborators. More multi-author papers to come!
37: papers I reviewed and edited (18 reviewed, 19 edited). My ratio of reviewed+edited/published papers is 1.8, less than in 2020 but more than in 2019. For next year, I am thinking to calculate this ratio in number of pages instead of in number of papers; I think number of papers is a truer metric. Anyway, I have more open assignments for reviews than manuscripts in preparation so I guess I’ll be fine next year.
22: the number of book chapters in the book I am editing. A book?! I know, pretty awesome. I have always wanted to write. During my Master studies, I started out writing (silly) pieces for the quarterly magazine of the biology student club at Ghent University. Gee, I suppose I should admit that I occasionally wrote under the pseudonym “pink knight”—that certainly was a different time. Next I wrote articles for a regional newspaper in Flanders (De Beiaard) and popular science articles for Scientias.nl, Science in the News, and FUNGI Magazine. I have occasionally tried my hand at writing a short story, such as this one: this one (in Dutch). But I have always wanted to do more with my writing, to teach, share with, and connect to other people. And so this book, with DIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION OF PATHOGENS AND PARASITES IN THE KINGDOM FUNGI as its draft title, is a next step in that direction.
19: number of days of FIELDWORK! After a year without fieldwork I was ready to go anywhere. Plans were made for Honduras, but those was cancelled and so I ended up going to Krka National Park in Croatia. I spent time capturing bats, developing projects with partner-in-crime Dr. Thomas E. Martin, and sampling bugs from a decomposing hedgehog. I mean, it was a roadkill and it was just lying there, what was I supposed to do?
All of my other fieldwork (Panama, Honduras, Siberia, Poland) was cancelled, and the first fieldtrip that was scheduled for 2022 (Mozambique) is already cancelled. I am not happy about about that. Let’s hope some of our other planned trips will happen as planned (and, not unimportant, as budgeted!): North Carolina, Central America (Honduras + Panama), Siberia (second try), and Tuscany and Brunei (with Taxon Expeditions).
15: number of taxonomic novelties introduced in 2021. This number includes a new genus of pink yeast-like fungi in the class Leotiomycetes (Inopinatum), ten new species, and four new combinations. Two out of the ten new species are †Proptomaphaginus alleni, a fossil leiodid named after Albert D. Allen, a private beetle enthusiast, and †Columnomyces electri, the fossil species of Laboulbeniales associated with the above leiodid.
14: presentations and posters, including six invited talks. All of them were online, except for one. The International Conference of the German Mycological Society “100 years anniversary of DGfM” in Blaubeuren was not cancelled. It was so good to interact with actual people. Funny story: when I arrived at the conference center, Cathie (Aime) and Pedro (Crous) were sitting together. When I joined them, the first thing Pedro said was: “How is the job search? We really gotta help you find a good position!” I, clumsily, responded: “Uh, yah.”
How I loved to see people, reconnect with old friends and collaborators (Cathie, Pedro, Meike) and meet new ones (Marc Stadler, Priscila Chaverri, Michael Bradshaw, Cobus Visagie, and some of Meike’s students). Oh, and when Konstanze Bensch came up to me, for a second I feared for retaliation, but she is such a wonderfully friendly person. I may have been a tad critical about MycoBank (especially how problematic editing names can be since the latest version), but Konstanze took it with a smile and talked to me about the finances keeping MycoBank afloat. (During which I profusely apologized.)
2: number of job interviews in 2021. Both interviews were online. The result of the first interview was me landing on the ninth place of the final ranking (for five positions). I wasn’t sad; I had realized – weirdly only during the interview itself, when I had to answer the question why here? – that it didn’t feel right. The second one is still up for grabs, but I don’t think it is doable financially. And so we keep applying.
1: number of publications in Science! Okay okay, it isn’t a peer-reviewed paper, but a letter counts just as much. This was a letter that Dr. Susana C. Gonçalves and I felt we needed to write after Cao et al. 2021 had called the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to include “macrofungi” in the post-2020 global biodiversity targets. We both felt that macrofungi did not cover the load. All the fungi should be included in said targets. This letter was such fun to write. I teach a course Writing Academic Papersin which I dive into not only the typical elements of a paper (introduction, methods, et cetera) but also paragraphs, sentences, and words. Choosing the right words is so important not to loose your reader, and even more so when the word count is tight. One thing that was so important in writing this letter was to make sure every word counts, so every word needed to be strong, and convey a message. The result was published this summer: Include all fungi in biodiversity goals.