News from the North American Mycoflora Project:
The Fungal Diversity Survey has become a new incarnation of the North American Mycoflora Project, a sponsor of the 2019 Continental MycoBlitz. We've extended FunDiS' mission beyond that of NAMP - we're also inviting citizen scientists to contribute high quality observations which will be vetted and identified by respected parataxonomists and mycologists. This will happen on our new FunDiS iNat project (and a parallel project on Mushroom Observer still under development). We're very much hoping that the engaged mycophiles who are members of the Mycoblitz project will also join our FunDiS project.
What is the 2019 MycoBlitz?
A MycoBlitz is no different from a BioBlitz really, except that we focus only on fungi. During two weeks in high mushroom seasons in 2019—August 12–19, 2019 and October 20–27, 2019—mycologists and citizen scientists all across the United States, Canada, and Mexico scoured their localities for macrofungi. Macrofungi are fungi that are easily visible with the unaided eye; this includes common forms such as mushrooms and bracket fungi. Our first goal (part A) was to provide a snapshot of macrofungi across North America during these two weeks, to provide baseline data about fungal fruiting and phenology. Our second goal (part B) was to select representative collections for all taxa discovered that are permanently vouchered and DNA barcoded. This will provide 1) a reference set of vouchered collections that will exist in perpetuity for current and future researchers to use, and 2) a set of DNA “barcodes”—sequence data that serve to help identify organisms to species—to populate public data repositories.
Participants recorded all of their observations of macrofungi during the two one-week periods on the platform iNaturalist. Participants were provided protocols for documenting and collecting their finds, and for selecting and processing specimens for part B. Each then mailed their selected representative collections to us. Specimens for part B are vouchered in the Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue University and DNA barcoded at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) locus. Barcodes and voucher numbers, as well as other collection feedback, are provided to participants via iNaturalist. At the close of the project (the end of 2020) all data will also be made publicly available via GenBank (the public repository for sequence data) and MycoPortal (the public repository for herbarium data). Participants are free to use data generated by this project in any downstream application or repository of their choosing.
The 2019 MycoBlitz was the first-ever online continent-wide foray of its kind. Results from this project will aid efforts to create the first North American funga for macrofungi.
How do I participate?
Information for participants of MycoBlitz 2019 and detailed protocols are here.
What happens to my specimens after I send them to you?
Once we receive your specimens we will:
1) log the box and sample collection numbers and verify the specimens against the iNaturalist observation; you will receive feedback in iNaturalist as soon as this is done.
2) A tissue sample will be collected from your dried specimens so the DNA can be sequenced; therefore please ensure that the material you send is adequate for both tissue collection and herbarium vouchering. Then we will extract the DNA and sequence the fungal barcode, or ITS locus. Sequences will be edited by us and then verified by Dr. Aime that the sequence is consistent with the iNaturalist observation. Dr. Aime will make a provisional ID based on the iNaturalist data and the sequence data and from examinations of your collection. Verified sequences and IDs will then be posted on iNaturalist.
3) Your collection will be accessioned, conserved, databased, and stored in perpetuity in the Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue. Herbarium voucher numbers will be recorded on the iNaturalist page for each collection.
4) At the end of the project we will post all barcode sequences to GenBank, and all collection data to MycoPortal.
iNaturalist is the official platform for the MycoBlitz—please check it for regular updates and feedback about your collections: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/continental-mycoblitz-2019
Who supported this project?
The 2019 MycoBlitz is supported by grants from The National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration (grant number NGS-55208R-19 to MCA), by the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, and by the Indiana Academy of Sciences; and sponsored by the Kriebel Herbarium, the North American Mycoflora Project and the North American Mycological Association. iNaturalist is the official platform of the 2019 MycoBlitz; mushroom clubs and citizen scientists across North America donated their time and labor to make this project a success.
For the latest MycoBlitz specimen updates, go to iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/continental-mycoblitz-2019
For more information on the North American Mycoflora Project go to: https://mycoflora.org/index.php