Myco-Consortium talk June 17: Sarah DeLong-Duhon

As part of the MST's membership in the Myco-Consortium series of Zoom talks, MST members are invited to join the presentation on Friday, June 17th at 7pm ET:

Rediscovering Common Species Using Molecular Biology: Stereum ostrea and Its Forgotten Cousins

A talk by Sarah DeLong-Duhon
Friday June 17th, 7pm ET

Mushrooms that look similar are not always the same species, as evidenced by an abundance of DNA studies on genera like CantharellusTrametesArmillaria, and Morchella. The genus Stereum is a wood-decay fungus abundant across the globe, with many species endemic to certain regions or specific to particular host trees. In the 50s, several species of Stereum were combined under the name S. ostrea due to their morphological similarity, but DNA barcoding clearly shows these species to be phylogenetically distinct. DNA analysis and literature review shows S. ostrea is an East Asian species, while S. fasciatum and S. lobatum appear endemic to the Americas and S. subtomentosum is found in Northern temperate regions. Morphological analysis shows that yellow staining and cap hair texture is key for differentiating these species in North America.

About Sarah DeLong-Duhon

Sarah DeLong-Duhon is a Master’s graduate from the University of Iowa, Vice President of the Prairie States Mushroom Club, and Founder of the Iowa Fungal Biodiversity Project. Her research focus is the phylogeny of Stereum, a globally common genus of wood-decay fungi. She is experienced in the field and the lab, extracting, sequencing and analyzing fungal DNA to help unravel the mysteries of fungal biodiversity and evolution.

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Myco-Consortium talk June 12: Henry Beker

As part of the MST's membership in the Myco-Consortium series of Zoom talks, MST members are invited to join the presentation on Sunday, June 12th at 2pm ET:

The Hebeloma Project: Database to Website and Development of an AI Species Identifier

A talk by Henry Beker
Sunday June 12th, 2pm ET

The Hebeloma project has been evolving for over 20 years. The database that started in 2003 now has over 10,000 collections, from around the world, with not only metadata but also morphological descriptions and photographs, both macroscopic and microscopic, as well as molecular data including at least an ITS sequence. Included within this set of collections are almost all types worldwide.

The next phase has been to develop a website, which updates as the database updates. This website, which will be launched on 1 July 2022, includes up-to-date species descriptions for all published species, worldwide, that are recognized as ‘current’. The descriptions reflect the collections of each species on the database. It also has a number of tools available to the user. For example a user may explore those species with similar habitat preferences, or those from a particular biogeographic area. A user is also able to compare a range of characters of different species. A key part of the website is the species identifier tool. The user inputs a small number of characters and the tool promptly returns the most likely species represented, ranked by probability. We will present the machine-learning techniques behind the tool, and the results it has had in testing to date.

About Henry Beker

Henry J. Beker is a professor and Honorary Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. He started life as a mathematician and became involved in informatics and information security. His career has spanned various executive and director roles within major electronics companies; Chairman and Chief Executive of a major publicly listed company in both Europe and the United States; advising the American National Standards Institute on security banking standards; Presidency of the Institute of Mathematics in the UK; authoring several books including Cipher Systems (1982), one of the first books to be published on the subject of protection of communications; helping steer a number of growing companies to trade sale or floatation; and founding the charity: e-Learning Foundation.

In the early 1990s Henry became interested in mycology. In 2000 he met Jan Vesterholt and they formed a partnership working on the genus Hebeloma. Since 2005 his mycological research has been focused solely on Hebeloma and in 2016 (with Ursula Eberhardt) Fungi Europaei 14 was published, a monograph on Hebeloma in Europe. Since then the team have been working on Hebeloma worldwide and are in the process of publishing a series of papers on the Hebeloma of North America. Henry has also served on the council of the British Mycological Society and is currently a Scientific Collaborator with Botanic Garden, Meise.

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Myco-Consortium talk June 10: Jacob Kalichman

As part of the MST's membership in the Myco-Consortium series of Zoom talks, MST members are invited to join the presentation on Friday, June 10th at 7pm ET:

Mushroom Forms, or: Macromacromorphology

A talk by Jacob Kalichman
Friday June 10th, 7pm ET

Typical lists of mushroom forms (agaric, bolete, polypore, crust…) are familiar and useful, but we don’t often give the forms themselves much attention. This presentation will be a casual attempt to add some precision and thoroughness to how we think about the forms, relating them to each other and giving extra attention to the in-betweens – mostly with pictures.

About Jacob Kalichman

Jacob Kalichman has been practicing identifying gilled mushrooms by sight since 2010, especially in California and Tennessee, focusing on little-known and difficult-to-distinguish genera. He is fascinated by the evolutionary relationships among mushrooms and keeps track of the genus-level taxonomy of the gilled ones and their relatives at He wrote the species text for the forthcoming Audubon guide and is currently a field mycologist collecting for the Matheny Lab at the University of Tennessee, with an extra focus on Inocybaceae (fibercaps).

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Speaker Series May 17th: Kathy Vatcher

Please join us on Zoom this coming Tuesday, May 17th at 7:30pm for our online Speaker Series. 

The Tip of the Iceberg - Discoveries in the world of mycology and its important role in our past, present and future.

Kathy Vatcher, an accomplished visual artist and educator, lives in Toronto but escapes the city as often as possible to hunt for wild mushrooms. She’s been studying them since joining the Mycological Society of Toronto a decade ago, though her interest began 35 years earlier. A frequent foray leader, she’s helped identify hundreds of species collected on dozens of forays and Bioblitzes. Yet she’s always eager to learn more from both mushroom experts and gifted amateurs. She’s taught mushroom identification at the Mycological Society of Toronto, The Kortright Centre for Conservation, Rouge National Park and for private corporations.

Mushrooms also pop up in her art. During the pandemic, she began creating unique decorative plates, many featuring fungi, that may be viewed at Tectonic Plates on Facebook. She also paints mushrooms, landscapes and portraits of pets and people. And recently she wrote Beatrix Potter Tells Her Tale, a play inspired by Potter’s challenges and contributions to mycology that she hopes to present in the future.

“The study of mycology has something for everyone. Anyone interested in the future of our planet should have an interest in mushrooms.” – Kathy Vatcher

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