Mycology

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Entries - Entry Category: Mycology

Arkansas Mycological Society

The purpose of the Arkansas Mycological Society (AMS) is to educate its members in the differences between—and the similarities that occur within—edible, inedible, and poisonous mushrooms and other fungi that occur in Arkansas and to promote overall interest in Arkansas’s mushrooms and fungi. In the fall of 1980, Edith Nelson and Jay Justice, who had both recently joined the North American Mycological Society (NAMA), delivered a presentation on mushrooms and fungi at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Edith Nelson (who died in 2004) was a retired high school teacher who had taught history and math, and Jay Justice was a chemist employed at what was at the time the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology (now the Arkansas Department of …

Fungi

Arkansas is home to a diverse and remarkable group of fungi, which are separated by mycologists (biologists who specialize in the study of fungi, or mycology) into species representing the true fungi belonging to the kingdom Fungi (e.g., chytrids, pin molds, sugar molds, club fungi, yeasts, sac fungi, and mushrooms) and a hodgepodge of other fungus-like protists (e.g., slime molds, water molds, downy mildews). Members of the kingdom Fungi are descended from a common ancestor, while fungus-like protists, though not necessarily closely related to each other or to the true fungi, are similar to true fungi in appearance and action. Characteristics of Fungi Although the number of fungal species in Arkansas is not known, fungi are quite diverse worldwide. According …

Slime Molds

Slime molds are among the more interesting yet relatively little known organisms found in Arkansas. They do not have a particularly attractive name, but some examples produce fruiting bodies that are miniature objects of considerable beauty. The organisms commonly referred to as slime molds actually belong to two different taxonomic groups—the myxomycetes and the dictyostelids. Members of both groups are common-to-abundant organisms in forests throughout Arkansas, but only the myxomycetes (also called plasmodial slime molds) can be observed directly in nature. As a result, the myxomycetes are by far the better known group, and to most people (including many biologists), they are the only “slime molds” of which they are aware. However, the dictyostelids (also known as cellular slime molds) …

White Nose Syndrome

White nose syndrome (WNS) is an emerging disease caused by an exotic fungus of the Phylum Ascomycota, Class Dothideomycetes, and Family Pseudeurotiaceae. This fungus is native to Europe and perhaps portions of Asia and is specifically termed Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Pd was unknown to science and undescribed until it was identified in 2008. Initially named Geomyces destructans, it was reclassified as P. destructans in 2013. The fungus was first found in Asia and Europe, where scientists believe it had existed for some time, as host bats do not appear to get as ill from the disease it causes. The strain of Pd that made it to North America is thought to have originated from some locality in Europe. There is …