Decay of the wood-wide web?

The ‘wood-wide web’ has captured the interest of broad audiences. Common mycorrhizal networks namely fungi that physically link roots of different trees together are purported to […]

Shannon Adams – Cortinarius

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.

James Dalling Seed – Fungal Relationships

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. James 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.   

Christian Volbracht – Mycological Illustration: History, Techniques, Problems

In his lecture, Christian Volbracht will give an overview of the history of illustration of fungi in printed books. He will present numerous examples of printed drawings and paintings of mushrooms from Europe, America and Asia, covering five centuries, from 1491 to the present. He will explain the various printing techniques from woodcuts to colored copper engravings to colored lithography and modern printing, describing the progress of the different illustration methods. Of particular interest are the colored copper engravings of fungi in the 18th century by Bulliard, Sowerby and Schaeffer, which are still important today as first diagnoses of new species. Volbracht will also go over problems which can arise when using the old figures of mushrooms.

Greg A Marley – Foraging Edible Wild Mushrooms for the Beginner; Develop your Foolproof Few

Foraging for wild mushrooms has become a favored pastime for nature-minded people of all ages. The single thing that holds a novice mycophile back is the fear of being poisoned.  There are a number of toxic mushrooms that can make you sick and a small number, dangerously ill.   This presentation will introduce you to the concept of “Foolproof Mushrooms”, a group of  mushrooms that are common, easily identifiable and without toxic look-alikes.   It will also address some of the common mistakes that people later regret.  Join us for an evening of learning a handful of “Foolproof' edible mushrooms and some guidance to avoid becoming a toxic mushroom statistic.

Björn Wergen – Dung Loving Cup Fungi

Dung Loving Cup Fungi is an overview of the colorful and less known species of the order Pezizales growing on dung from various animals. Genera, species, morphology and recent taxonomy will be discussed.

Zachary (Mazi) Hunter – Mycological Mexico: Oaxaca edition

Mexico is one of the most climate diverse countries in the world and it has been estimated that indigenous Mexicans consume about 300 species of edible mushrooms across its eight climatic regions;  All eight climates are found in the Southern State of Oaxaca. Despite its inclusion geographically in North America, the country of Mexico can seem quite foreign in its attitudes toward mushrooms and mushroom foraging when compared to the US or Canada. The difference, even more pronounced in Oaxaca, is more than just a language barrier, though that plays a significant role; despite Spanish being the dominant language, there are more than 16 official language groups throughout this state alone. More than half of the political regions in Oaxaca are self-governed autonomous democracies. There are no mushroom picking permits: nothing can be removed from the land, or even access granted, without express permission of the community. And yet, their knowledge of mushrooms and even mycology is vast and has been known since time immemorial. In this presentation, Chef Zachary Mazi attempts to tackle the barriers in understanding this delicate relationship, and discusses the intricate web of food-life-forest-community that underlies the unique management of these diverse and incredible ethnomycological regions whose wisdom holds so much potential for the rest of North America.

Pop-up walk Sunday June 11 Cunningham Park, Queens

An air quality warning has been issued by the US National Weather Service which is set to end Friday June 9th at midnight. However, it is possible that the hazardous conditions will persist through the weekend. If the air quality conditions are predicted to be unfavorable on Sunday we will cancel this walk by Saturday at noon. Please monitor your email inbox for a cancellation notice. Please have a safe week.

Because of the ongoing drought we've been finding fungi only in very limited numbers, mostly crusts, polypores and ascomycetes. While we hope there will be interesting fungi at Cunningham Park there are no guarantees.

Keith Seifert – Three Microfungi that Changed the World

To celebrate the publication of “The Hidden Kingdom of Fungi,” my recent book for general readers, I will present three stories in depth to show the profound effects of fungi (or “phungi”) can have on human affairs. We will follow the path of the Great Potato Famine from its origins to the Irish diaspora of millions of victims to Canada and the USA. We will look at the discovery of penicillin and its impacts on World War II and conflicting concepts of intellectual property. Then we will look at some global aspects of wheat rust. These stories show that the impacts of fungi and fungal research extend far beyond the corridors of science.

Wolfe’s Pond Park, Prince’s Bay, Staten Island, NY
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