Until recently, polymorphic higher fungi (Dikarya) were allowed to carry multiple names describing sexual and various asexual stages of their life cycles. These stages may develop independently from each other, and before the introduction of genetic approaches their association was often difficult to establish. Today, with the wide application of molecular methods, this is no longer necessary. Two international expert symposia were recently held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands devoted to the fate of the dual naming system in fungi: ‘One Fungus = One Name’ on 19 and 20 April, 2011 and ‘One Fungus = Which Name’ on 12 and 13 April, 2012. The resulting ‘Amsterdam Declaration on Fungal Nomenclature’ required the abolishment of Art. 59 of the Code of Botanical Nomenclature, which had been a unique provision that sanctioned multiple names for the same fungus. Thus, from 1 January 2013 onwards this dual nomenclature is no longer permitted. One of the consequences of this Declaration is that criteria for naming fungi will change entirely. This potentially would have a profound impact on clinical mycology and applied sciences.

The ISHAM Working Group Nomenclature of Medical Fungi aims to guide the transition by providing information and stimulating consensus decisions on complicated, doubtful or conflicting issues. The group does not wish to prescribe any naming or approach, but just aims to guide and assist. We aim to synchronize the names used in the Atlas of Clinical Fungi with those used in and proposed by clinical and phylogenetic specialists in different areas of medical mycology. We would be happy to hear from you. Membership of the Working Group is free; please register below. Membership gives you access to a number of significant papers published on nomenclatural issues.