South Africa is one of the most biologically-diverse countries in the world but remains underexplored for soil fungi. The newly funded NRF project, the 'South African Soil SurveY' or SASSY aims to close this knowledge gap by characterising fungal communities from soils collected from 100 South African nature reserves using both culture-dependent and -independent methods. Collection sites were selected to best represent the nine biomes and 36 bioregions of South Africa.

The first collections were made from 9-16 March by Prof. Cobus Visagie, Dr Anne Pringle, Mr David Johnson and Ms Nicole van Vuuren. They collected soils from 11 nature reserves, including Anysberg, De Mond, Gamkaberg, Gondwana Private Reserve, Goukamma, Gourikwa, Grootvadersbos, Keurbooms River, Marloth, Outeniqua and Robberg. We would like to thank the conservation managers from these parks for the assistance and advice they provided during our visit.