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Mycological Society of Toronto Meetings

The MST organizes four informative Speaker Series meetings a year for our members, in October, November, February, and March. Guest speakers are invited to give presentations on various topics associated with the field of mycology, usually illustrated with slides. The MST holds its Annual General Meeting in April.

MST meetings are held either via Zoom or in-person at the Auditorium of the Toronto Botanical Garden, located at the southwest corner of Leslie St. and Lawrence Ave. East in TorontoFor General Meetings, meet by 7:30 pm unless indicated otherwise. Refreshments are served following in-person meetings.

Members of the public are welcome as guests to attend one meeting prior to joining the Society.

MST members have access to videos of Speaker Series presentations after each meeting.

Meetings for 2023-2024

Speaker Series: Wednesday, October 11, 2023 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Heather Hallen-Adams

Presentation: All About Amatoxins

Heather Hallen-Adams grew up in St. Paul, MN, received a BS in Plant Biology from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology from Michigan State University, studying amatoxin-producing poisonous mushrooms. While at Michigan State for her PhD and postdocs she began consulting with MSU Veterinary Toxicology in mushroom poisoning cases, an association she continues to this day. Her postdocs continued the amatoxin work and expanded into the mycotoxin producing plant pathogen Fusarium graminearum. Since 2010 she has been the food mycologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she continues work on Fusarium as well as some amatoxin work in collaboration with Hong Luo at the Kunming Institute of Botany; she has also added research into fungi of the healthy human gut. She is the mushroom poisoning contact for the Nebraska Poison Center since 2010 and, since 2022, the Toxicology Chair for NAMA and the Treasurer for the Mycological Society of America. She is currently an Associate Professor of Practice. Heather is an author on 40 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and two patents, and has supervised or co-advised four MS and three PhD students to date.

Speaker Series: Wednesday, November 22, 2023 7:30 p.m.

Presentation: MST Student Volunteers share their experience at the ROM Fungarium

Presenters: Chloe Baloh, Eli Guan, Nathaniel Russel, Simona Margaritescu

Please join us for an open forum gathering where our MST student volunteers share their experience at the ROM Fungarium. This evening will be free flowing and less formal, encouraging lots of audience interaction.

Speaker Series: Wednesday, April 3, 2024 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Roy Halling

Presentation: Getting a grip on Boletes: from there to here

Mushrooms with spongy pores under the cap (boletes) are widespread around the globe and are well-known for their occurrence in both temperate and tropical forest habitats and woodlands. They can be quite large (well over a foot across) or very small (less than a half inch in diameter). Species recognition is often fairly straight forward while generic concepts have been subject to a north temperate bias due to historical precedence. Morphological diagnoses (both macro and micro) have been the primary bases for distinguishing one entity from another. With expanded access to, and increased exploration of under explored parts of the world, especially the southern hemisphere and the tropics, increased complexity and diversity of boletes has become evident. Also, with the recent development of techniques to analyze DNA, the testing of hypotheses on evolutionary relationships among morphologically based distinctions has come under scrutiny. Examples derived from an expanded biogeographic sampling and DNA testing illustrate the dissection of the original broad concepts of Boletus, Leccinum, and Tylopilus.

Roy Halling was born in Iowa and grew up in Southern California. He received his B.A. from California State University Stanislaus, his M.A. from San Francisco State University, and PhD from University of Massachusetts. A three-year post-doc at Harvard University’s Farlow Herbarium came about before his posting at the New York Botanical Garden. He is a Curator Emeritus of Mycology at the New York Botanical Garden, where he carried out research on the classification, systematics, biogeography, and diversity of mushrooms. Roy has been involved in exploration, inventory, and documentation of fungal diversity via field work around the world in northern and southern temperate zones as well as the neo- and paleotropics. Field efforts in these areas have added substantially to general knowledge on tropical and temperate fungi. Recently, explorations have emphasized surveys to document the diversity, evolutionary & mycorrhizal relationships, and distribution of the Boletineae (a suborder of porcini-like mushrooms). International collaboration with other specialists has been underway on systematics, biogeography and phylogeny of Bolete mushrooms with particular emphasis in Australia and SE Asia. He has authored or co-authored over 120 scientific publications. He has mentored undergraduate interns, honors students, and four PhD candidates. He served the mycological community as President of the Mycological Society of America, a society from which he received recognition as a Fellow of the MSA and as a Distinguished Mycologist.

Speaker Series: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Mary Catherine Aime

Presentation: Introduction to Rust Fungi

In terms of species numbers and ubiquity, rust fungi are an incredibly successful lineage. Together, the more than 7000 described species form the largest known group of plant pathogens, while also having incredibly complex life cycles. This talk will explore the biology of these fascinating organisms and discuss the contributions that molecular systematics have made to our understanding of their evolution.

Cathie Aime is Professor of Mycology, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology and Director of the Arthur Fungarium and Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University under the guidance of Orson K. Miller, Jr., and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford under Lorna Casselton. Cathie’s research combines expeditionary field work and traditional approaches with molecular genetics and multi-omics approaches to understand fungal diversity and evolution. Areas of specialization include tropical basidiomycetes, systematics of early diverging basidiomycete lineages (including smuts and yeasts), evolution of rust fungi, and epidemiology of tropical tree diseases. Cathie is a past Managing Editor of the journal Mycologia and is currently President of the Mycological Society of America and Vice President of the International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi. Cathie is a fellow of the Mycological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Explorer’s Club, and the Linnean Society of London

This meeting will be held online via Zoom
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Updated April 15th, 2024