Myco-Consortium talk April 13: James Dalling

As part of the MST's membership in the Myco-Consortium series of Zoom talks, MST members are invited to join the presentation on Thursday, April 13th at 7pm ET:

Seeds & Fungi

A talk by James Dalling
Thursday April 13th, 7pm ET

Plant-fungal interactions are ubiquitous. For a forest ecologist interested in how plant species are distributed, compete for resources, and defend against their natural enemies, fungi are difficult, if not impossible, to ignore. Furthermore, fungi are now known to infect all plant tissues – from their roots and sapwood to flowers, leaves and seeds. In many cases these internal infections of plants by ‘endophytic fungi’ occur either without adverse impacts on the plant host, or with impacts that vary depending on the identity of the host species.

Jim will review the breadth of endophytic fungal infections, and some of the impacts these have on their hosts. He will then describe the work he and his team are conducting in lowland tropical forest in Panama on the fungi that infect seeds of tree species that depend on soil seed banks to successfully regenerate after disturbance. Using a combination of carbon-dating, seed burial experiments, fungal culturing and inoculation experiments they have found a high degree of host specificity of seed fungi. These fungal infections can be viewed as the ‘primary symbionts’ that plants encounter, with impacts on seed germination and survival that are a consequence both of the fungi themselves, as well as bacteria that live within the fungal hyphae.

Understanding how seed infecting fungi impact seed survival patterns can help us understand how tropical forest diversity is maintained, and also has applications for the protection of crop seeds and the management of weed species in agricultural systems.

About James Dalling

James Dalling is Professor of Tropical Ecology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He completed an undergraduate degree in Botany at Oxford University and a PhD at Cambridge University studying the regeneration of tropical montane forests in Jamaica. He moved to Panama as a post-doctoral researcher in 1992 and spent eight years working on seed dispersal and seedling ecology on Barro Colorado Island, a field station in the Panama Canal. This work led to the discovery that fungi are a major determinant of seed survival in the soil. His current research explores plant-mycorrhizal effects on species distributions in montane forests, the assembly of communities of wood decay fungi in terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and the host-specificity and demographic impact of seed-infecting fungi. His seed work has led to the discovery that fungi can have both mutualistic and pathogenic effects on seeds, depending on the host species they infect.

How to Join:

Sign in to see how to join the meeting

Speaker Series April 19th at 7:30pm

Please join us on Zoom on Wednesday, April 19th at 7:30pm for our online Speaker Series. 

The History of Field Guides

Sara Scharf received her doctorate in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto in 2007. Her research focused on the origins and development of field guides in 18th century botany, more precisely, the coalescence of information management techniques that allow people to look things up when they do not know what those things are called. She worked in a variety of fields before landing in cybersecurity, though she also moonlights as an academic editor. Dr. Scharf lives in Toronto with a variety of plants, fish, and reptiles. She has been a member of the Mycological Society of Toronto on and off since the 1990s. 

How to Join:

Sign in to see how to join the meeting

Myco-Consortium talk March 30: Shannon Adams

As part of the MST's membership in the Myco-Consortium series of Zoom talks, MST members are invited to join the presentation on Thursday, March 30th at 7pm ET:

Unveiling the Enigmatic Beauty of Cortinarius

A talk by Shannon Adams
Thursday March 30th, 7pm ET

Do you love learning about mushrooms but have heard 'Cortinarius' are too hard? It doesn't have to be that way! Shannon is here to spread her love of the Cortinariaceae and to give you resources to help you get to know the species in your area. She will give us an update on Cortinarius taxonomy (including new genera that have been proposed), pointers on distinctive sub-genera and resources that will empower you to learn more. During the talk you will get to know some of our Cortinarius 'celebrities' and have new resources to work with when you find these diverse and beautiful species in your backyard.

About Shannon Adams

Shannon Adams is a User Researcher in the tech industry who has a passion for the genus Cortinarius.  When she emigrated from Australia 20+ years ago she was struck by the diversity and beauty of Cortinarius species she saw in the Washington Cascades, and started trying (and failing) to identify them. For the past 6 years she has been collecting and documenting species in the region and has over 1,000 Cortinarius collections in her personal herbarium. In 2021 she led publication of a new Cortinarius species - Cortinarius rufosanguineus, has three other species in the publication pipeline and is currently collaborating with researchers on red-gilled Dermocybe.

How to Join:

Sign in to see how to join the meeting

March 8th Speaker Series Video Available

Shannon Nix's presentation The Great Escape is now available to MST members to watch on the meetings video page.

The spore dispersal strategies employed by mushroom-forming fungi are as diverse as the myriad types of fruiting bodies produced by these organisms. Join us as Dr. Shannon Nix discusses a few of these strategies, as well as some of the adaptations that fungi have evolved to ensure that their genes are successfully dispersed into the environment.

MST meeting video screenshot

Dr. Shannon Nix is a fungal ecologist who received her B.S. from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Prior to becoming a tenured professor at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Shannon studied the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on fungal communities as a Fulbright Fellow at the Agricultural University of Norway and as a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Georgia Experiment Station. During her career as a professor at Clarion and George Mason universities, she taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses in mycology, botany, microbiology and environmental science. Now retired from higher education, Shannon regularly gives invited talks and workshops for local and regional mushroom clubs and pursues research with local collaborators and academic colleagues. Shannon is passionate about education and raising awareness of the role that fungi play in the environment and our lives.