Mail your specimens to:
Purdue Kriebel Herbarium
Lilly Hall of Life Sciences
915 West State St. Room G-447
West Lafayette, IN 47907
The 2019 Continental Mycoblitz is open to anyone who is willing to make scientifically valuable observations and collections of mushrooms and other macrofungi. This includes documentation with photographs, field observations, and submitting a dried specimen. Any individual can submit up to 10 of their most unique/interesting/exciting collections from each foray week for further processing. Specimens submitted for processing will be examined by a mycologist, vouchered in the Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue University, and DNA sequenced at the fungal barcoding (ITS) locus. Data will be returned to participants via iNaturalist for any downstream use they may wish to use. You have the chance to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of fungi from North America by submitting specimens to this project!
How to Participate
Before the Foray (Week 1: August 12 - 19, 2019; Week 2: October 20 - 27, 2019)
2. Download Field Data Slips - Download your field data slips online. These field data slips are individually numbered and should be filled out for each collection you make. (NOTE: data slips are no longer available for the 2019 MycoBlitz.)
3. Download the iNaturalist Mobile App - Both Android and IOS versions are available. Check your preferred app store for the download. If you do not have a mobile device, you can participate by utilizing the web interface to report your observations.
4. Join the "Continental Mycoblitz 2019" project in iNaturalist - You can join from the mobile app or now from your favorite web browser. You can join this project at any time.
Additional training documents are available here:
Collecting Mushrooms for Science: Learn how to make scientifically valuable collections of mushrooms for the bioblitz.
iNaturalist Mycoblitz Protocols: How to upload your photographs and metadata for this event.
Selection Committee Training: Foray staff training. (Open to all who want to understand how to select quality representative specimens.)
During Foray Week
1. Create new observations of mushrooms you encounter. This can be done through the iNaturalist mobile app in the field (with cell service) or the web interface at home. With each new observation, be sure to select the project for your event and whether you collected the specimen. The mobile app uploads the photos to the reports online.
a. Take multiple photos of the mushrooms with your cell phone or camera in the field. Your photos are most valuable to science if they include GPS location data: make sure it is turned on! Take a nice image near ground level from the side, as well as an image of the top, the stipe (stem), and the spore-bearing surface (e.g., gills or pores on the underside of the cap).
b. If you think you might submit the specimen, take an image of a field data slip with the specimen. This will help to ensure the images are associated with the correct specimens.
c. Enter the field data slip number into the "Voucher number(s)" field in the mobile app.
2. Collect the specimen. Store your field slip with the specimen. Back at home, dry the specimens with a dehydrator or fan--use the duplicate number at the bottom portion of the voucher slip to keep collections with their number as they are being dried. Once they are cracker dry (usually 1-2 days, but up to a week for larger specimens) put the voucher slip together with the specimen in an individual ziplock bag. Please put the iNaturalist number (in the URL of your observations) and your tentative identification on the voucher slips. This will save us a huge amount of time once we receive the collections.
4. As a reminder, we are looking for:
a. Specimens with complete metadata - color images from multiple angles (including the spore bearing surface), a filled out field data slip, and fully dried specimens.
b. Locally uncommon, rare, or otherwise interesting species.
c. Try to make a few of your specimens from one of the following groups for this event: Cortinarius, Inocybe, Amanita sect. Vaginatae, and/or the Marasmiaceae.
Post-event Processing at Purdue
Once we receive your specimens we will:
1) log the box and sample collection numbers and verify the specimens against the iNaturalist observation; you will receive feedback in iNaturalist as soon as this is done.
2) A tissue sample will be collected from your dried specimens so the DNA can be sequenced; therefore please ensure that the material you send is adequate for both tissue collection and herbarium vouchering. Then we will extract the DNA and sequence the fungal barcode, or ITS locus. Sequences will be edited by us and then verified by Dr. Aime that the sequence is consistent with the iNaturalist observation. Dr. Aime will make a provisional ID based on the iNaturalist data and the sequence data and from examinations of your collection. Verified sequences and IDs will then be posted on iNaturalist.
3) Your collection will be accessioned, conserved, databased, and stored in perpetuity in the Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue.
4) At the end of the project we will post all barcode sequences to GenBank, and all collection data to MycoPortal.
iNaturalist is the official platform for the MycoBlitz – please check it for regular updates and feedback about your collections: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/continental-mycoblitz-2019
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are determinations made about which mushrooms are selected for sequencing? There are three primary factors that will influence whether a specimen is selected for sequencing or not. The first is that the metadata is complete for the specimen and the quality of that data is high (geotagged color images from multiple angles, completely filled out field data slip, properly dried specimens, and the specimens are well organized). Secondly, we are looking for specimens from specific taxonomic groups and geographical regions that are undersampled. (An uncommon species from North Dakota is more likely to be sequenced than the same uncommon species from Colorado. We will also have a bias to specimens of Cortinarius, Inocybe, Amanita sect. Vaginatae, and the Marasmiaceae for this event. Roughly 20-30% of the specimens will come from these groups.) Finally, the overall interest of the particular species at a specific location by our partner mycologists will produce the final determination. The more uncommon/interesting a particular species is, the higher the chance it will be sequenced.
2. Do I have to send 10 specimens in order to participate? No. Even if you only want to take images and do not want to submit specimens, the observations you provide to the project can still be extremely valuable. Observational data helps us better understand the range and seasonality of even common species. You can also send less than 10 specimens to the event. For each person that submits 10 specimens, we will guarantee that at least one of your specimens are selected for sequencing.
3. Do I have to fill out a data slip for each mushroom I see? No, only for specimens you are collecting. If you are simply taking an image of a mushroom to document the species at a particular location, you do not need to fill out a field data slip for it. We do not need 100 collections of Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor) or Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus). If you know the mushroom is common, a picture will suffice. Just be sure to take nice, close images from several angles. No need to collect it. But many mushrooms cannot be identified from a picture alone. We also cannot get DNA results from pictures. Saving interesting specimens allows us the potential to study them further.
4. Should I collect a mushroom if I cannot identify it? Yes! Unidentified mushrooms are often the most interesting ones. Just call it "Fungi" on the iNaturalist observation and someone will come along and identify it for you.
5. What if a mushroom is very large, do I have to collect the whole thing? No, just collect a small portion, such as 1/4 of the cap. The best part to save is the top part with the gills/pores, as well as a cross-section of the stem.
6. Do I need the field data slips in order to participate? Yes, mushrooms will only be accepted at the processing facility if they have a mycoflora number from the field data slip that is associated with an iNaturalist observation. Standard NAMP field slips are also ok to use if you have them.
7. What if I run out of field data slips? You can download more slips online at any time.
8. What do I need to fill out on each field data slip? The requested minimum information to fill out is the date, your name as the collector (you can use initials), the site name, and ecological information (substrate, habitat, etc.). The field for Foray ID is not being used for this event. The more information you are willing to save, the more valuable the report/specimen will be for science. Once your specimens are dry, please put the iNaturalist number for each collection on your voucher slips.
9. Do I need to smell and taste each mushroom? No, but this information is important for certain groups of mushrooms. These sections of the field data slip are optional, but encouraged. Also keep in mind that taste does not equal swallow. You can taste any mushroom without fear. Just gently chew a small bit of the mushroom and let it sit on your tongue for a few seconds to see if any specific taste starts to develop. Then spit the flesh out.
10. What are the numbers on the bottom of the field data slip for? The "Voucher Label for Drying" can be torn off and stored in your tackle box or basket with the specimen. This will allow you to keep the specimens organized with the pictures you take (be sure to take a picture of the field data slip with each specimen for the number and the scale bar on the side of the slip). The "Tissue Label" is not something we will be using as a part of this project. Please keep it attached to the field data slip with the specimens you send in. This section will be attached to the tissue sample tube that will be used for looking at the DNA of your specimens.
11. Do I have to upload the photos using the mobile app? You have several options to get your images/reports onto iNaturalist. 1. You can create reports using the mobile app in the field as you go along. If you do not have cell service, the app will store the individual reports until your phone is connected. 2. You could take pictures in the field without using the mobile app, and upload to individual iNaturalist observations later once you are back at home. (This is often the suggested method, as you don't have to fuss with a mobile app in the field and can spend more time enjoying nature.) Finally, 3. You could take images with a regular camera and upload individual reports on the iNaturalist website through your computer browser.
12. I am interested in photographing and collecting, but I will not be able to upload to iNaturalist until after the event week. Can I still participate? Yes! We anticipate processing specimens for several months after the foray ends. We ask that you upload your observations to iNaturalist and mail in your samples as soon after foray week as possible, but if it takes a few extra weeks, that will still be acceptable. The longer it takes, however, the fewer open sequencing spots will be left, so getting your specimens in early will give you the best chance for getting some of your specimens sequenced.
13. Can I use online platforms other than iNaturalist to upload my observations for this event? The funding for this event was provided by National Geographic, who is now a partner with iNaturalist. The funding was provided on the basis of utilizing iNaturalist for this event. Thus, we will only be accepting specimens for sequencing consideration that have an observation posted with an iNaturalist link. You are always free to duplicate your observations on other platforms.
14. Can you return the specimens that are sent in? Unfortunately, we will not be able to return any specimens that are submitted. If you would like to ensure your specimens are retained, please only send a "split" or a portion of the collection to the processing facility. You are welcome to retain the remainder of your collection and submit it to a local herbarium.
15. What if a new species is discovered? Who gets the credit? iNaturalist has a "Collector's name" field that can be filled out when submitting an observation if the name of the collector is different from the person submitting the observation. The credit for the collection of a new species would go to the person who submitted the iNaturalist observation or the name of the individual in the Collector's name field.
16. Does harvesting mushrooms hurt the environment? The short answer is no. It is misguided to think of harvesting mushrooms in the same terms as harvesting plants or other organisms. There have been multiple studies to explore this topic and none of found harvesting to have a negative impact on the mushrooms being harvested. Mushrooms are only the reproductive structure of the organism, like an apple on a tree. The main body of the organism lives under the ground or in the wood that you are harvesting the mushroom from. Walking through the woods off trail (ground compaction) is likely to have a greater impact on the environment than harvesting mushrooms. If harvesting large numbers of mushroom species had any detrimental impacts to the organism, we would be the first organization to discourage large-scale collecting.
3. Mail in your dried specimens - Mail your top ten specimens to us at the Kriebel Herbarium at Purdue University. The top specimens that are selected as a part of this event will have their DNA "sequenced" or examined. We are likely to find multiple species that are new to science during this event. Your collections could be part of this.