One of the great things about mycology is the opportunity for amateur naturalists to contribute to citizen science (science conducted with the help of the general public). If you have been wanting to get out and explore the fungal world, all while contributing to the understanding of biodiversity, the fall Mycoblitz (organized by Mycota, NAMA, Fungal Diversity Survey and the Hoosier Mushroom Society) is a great way to get involved! There is an amazing opportunity from Oct 13-22 this year to contribute to a continent wide Mycoblitz! A Mycoblitz is a Bioblitz for fungi. A bioblitz is an intensive period of ecological surveying, and you can help! The aim is to catalogue fungi across the entire continent. There is even the opportunity to send in some of your mushrooms to be genetically sequenced!
There are two way ways to participate:
Download iNaturalist app (https://www.inaturalist.org/)
Join the project on iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fall-continental-mycoblitz-2023)
Upload photographs of your observations of fungi. Be sure to take detailed field notes and fill in the project fields. You can do this anywhere you hike or see mushrooms as no picking is required! Be sure to take pictures from multiple angles, and don’t forget to get a shot of the gills!
Collect specimens for sequencing:
In addition to your usual collecting preparations you will need to download and print off voucher slips (https://mycomap.com/events/event-slips?event=130).
You will then need to go to land where it is permissible to pick mushrooms, photograph them, and upload the observation to iNaturalist. Resist the temptation to pick the mushroom until you have taken a picture of it in its’ habitat, and taken note of the surrounding trees.
Fill out the voucher label, including the iNaturalist ID number of your observation.This is important so the organizers can match the dried specimens with the photographs and geotagged entry on iNaturalist.
Dry the specimen (until cracker dry!)
Mail to the organizers. You can send in up to 10 specimens for potential sequencing! Very exciting stuff! There are lots of new fungi species just waiting to be discovered. The target genus is Tricholoma, so priority is given to those specimens for sequencing. Email email@example.com when you are ready to send in your collections for further instructions.
All details and instructions can be found here:
Some information about Vouchers:
A voucher is generally a paper label with a unique number recording key information about a scientific specimen. A corresponding smaller paper label with the matching number can be kept with the specimen as it dries.
The vouchers for this project look like this:
Vouchering is important as it helps keep specimens organized and records important info. The vouchers also provide a number for keeping track of specimen in a database. Specimens change as they dry and we forget things so it is important to take note of information about the environment the specimen was found in, and about details of the specimens before they are dried.
For this Mycoblitz fill in the required information (Date, Location, iNat #, Field photos, Nearby trees, Substrate, Habit, Odor, Taste, Species) as best possible, and write any other important observations on the back of the voucher. The collector is the person who found the mushroom, and the identifier the person who identified the mushroom. It is ok if you are not sure of the identity, fill in the fields to the best of your ability.
Please feel to reach out if you have any questions about the process.
Jade Hopkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Useful Web Resources:
Example of an iNaturalist post for a past mycoblitz: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/179275993
Mycoblitz process and details:
Mycota page: https://mycota.com/2023-continental-mycoblitz/
Link to voucher slips:
Collecting specimens for science:
Contains a useful description of how to dry mushroom with a dehydrator:
Identifying and describing mushrooms:
Glossary of Mycology Terms:
Photographs by Jade Hopkins