Prairie States Mushroom Club

Prairie States Mushroom Club

Imagine this: it’s a misty Iowa morning, and a small group of stick-and-basket-wielding mushroom enthusiasts has gathered near a stand of trees. The club members—some carrying small hand shovels, some carrying camera equipment, and all wearing hiking boots—spread out in the forest, only reconvening when someone whistles or calls to the others to observe a particularly interesting find. At the end of the morning, the members gather around a picnic table to identify and catalog their finds, as well as to share anecdotes regarding how a particular taxon might be found, identified, or prepared for consumption. The foray ends with lunch, and members return home with the spoils of their outing.

Formed in 1983, the Prairie States Mushroom Club (PSMC) is Iowa’s foremost amateur mycological society. The organization “promotes scientific and educational activities related to fungi and fosters the appreciation of wild and cultivated mushrooms”, as well as the “practical and scientific study of fungi and the gathering, dissemination and perpetuation of facts and knowledge on that subject.” The group shares their findings with other organizations—namely the North American Mycological Association (NAMA)—and professional mycologists.

While the group boasts a membership from diverse backgrounds (scientists, students, naturalists, and photographers to name a few), it was originally founded by former NAMA president Dr. Don Huffman and Dr. Lois Tiffany to help gather data on populations of morels (Morchella spp.) in the region. Since the conclusion of this study, however, the group’s interests have expanded beyond far beyond morels. Now, PSMC conducts forays around Iowa, encouraging seasoned and inexperienced mycophiles alike to explore the diversity of fungi for food and pleasure.

Of course, PSMC does more than just conduct forays.  The group also recruits speakers to lecture on interesting topics related to fungal biology, circulates an annual calendar of photos taken by members, and even produces its own newsletter. This newsletter often contains editorial pieces written by members, which often relate more intimate experiences with fungi, such as club president Glen Schwartz’s article “The Magic Stump” in which he relates his first experiences with mushrooms, his introduction to the PSMC, and a tree stump that supported remarkable diversity of fungi.

For those interested in membership or correspondence, the club can be contacted by e-mailing iowamushroom@gmail.com, or by visiting their website at www.iowamushroom.org.

Terry Torres-Cruz

Terry J Torres Cruz grew up in Costa Rica. She is currently doing research at Penn State-State College with Dr. David Geiser. 

Tell us about your project! 

My thesis project aims to describe a potential new plant-fungal mimicry system and the potential involvement of insects in this interaction.

What awards would you like to brag about?

During my time at Penn State, I have been recognized for my leadership work inside the institution with the “2021 Student Leader Scholarship” and for my efforts to promote intercultural understanding on campus and beyond with the “2020 Ardeth and Norman Frisbey International Graduate Student Award”. I was awarded the “Jose de la Torres Scholarship” and the “Black Research Fund Travel Award” in 2018 by the College of Agricultural Sciences. My department has also supported me through a variety of awards: “James F & Marilyn Tammen Memorial Endowment” in 2020 and 2021, “Leonard J. Francl Memorial Endowment” in 2020, “Larry J. Jordan Memorial Endowment” in 2018, and the “Herbert Cole Jr. Fund” in 2018.

From MSA, I have received the Clark T Rogerson Research Award in 2019 to support a field trip and the Mentor Student Travel Award in the name of James M. Trappe in 2015. When I first came to the US to start my studies in mycology in 2014, I received an award from the “Internship Incentive Fund” by the Costa Rica Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología – Consejo Nacional para Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas and an award from the “International Travel Fund” by the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica that made possible my work at Western Illinois University and opened an array of research and professional opportunities for me.

What are your career goals/plans for after you’re done your current position?

I want to start my own lab in a research institution where I can mentor students and conduct research in the tropics.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

Bifiguratus adelaidae because its description was part of my master’s work and part of the work that led me to the mycology field.

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

That even though there is so much research about fungi there is still so much to be discovered. And that the lack of knowledge and abundance of misinformation related to fungi in the general public actually gives US many opportunities to share our love for fungi (and knowledge) with others

Who is your mycology role model?

Drs. Andrea Porras-Alfaro and Priscila Chaverri because representation matters and seeing the amazing work they have done over the years as Costa Rican female mycologists inspires me to pursue my mycological dreams

Any great stories from field work?

A few come to mind that are funny in retrospective but were not so much in the moment, like hearing a jaguar close by and thinking that was it for me or discovering parasites under my skin after a field trip.

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

I spend a really big part of my free time doing volunteer/leadership work through different organizations and committees. I also enjoy being a mentor to female students in STEM and participate in different mentorship opportunities. After all that there is little free time left, but I enjoy traveling to new places, being outdoors, singing, and watching TV series.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

If you want to know more about my work, please visit my website: terrytorrescruz.com Also, I have a small community science project where I ask people doing work in northern South America to report observations of the system I am working with for my main PhD project (see info on my website).

Post-doc at UC-Riverside (Fungal Ecology)

Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

The Glassman Lab at the University of California, Riverside is now accepting applications for a postdoctoral researcher position focused on fungal ecology. The Glassman lab studies ectomycorrhizal, arbuscular mycorrhizal, and saprobic fungal ecology, bacterial-fungal interactions, decomposition, the impacts of fires on fungi and bacteria, and the use of microbes to improve post-fire regeneration. The recruit has the potential to lead ongoing projects in the Glassman lab or propose their own independent idea relevant to ongoing projects in the Glassman lab. We use a combination of approaches including fieldwork, greenhouse work, culturing, molecular ecology, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics and multivariate statistical analyses to advance fungal ecology. For more information on the Glassman lab please visit our website: https://sydneyglassman.wordpress.com.

Applicants should have, or be close to receiving, a PhD in microbial ecology, mycology, molecular ecology, or a closely related area. Applicants with experience working with arbuscular and/or ectomycorrhizal fungi will be given high priority. Additional minimum qualifications include: at least one peer-reviewed first-author publication in a related field, willingness to perform field work in California, effective written and oral communication skills, ability to work well independently and as part of a team, and passion for fungi. Additional necessary qualifications include: bacterial or fungal culturing, expertise in ecological experimental design, programming in R, advanced multivariate statistical analysis, bioinformatics, and molecular techniques including DNA extractions, PCRs, and 16S or ITS sequencing. Experience with or desire to learn network analysis, metagenomics, genomics, or transcriptomics would be a bonus.

UC Riverside is a world-class research university with an exceptionally diverse undergraduate student body. Its mission is explicitly linked to providing routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. A commitment to this mission is a preferred qualification.

How to apply/contact: The position could commence as early as April 15, 2021 but no later than July 15, 2021. Screening will begin February 15 and will continue until the position is filled. Salaries scales for first year post-doctoral researchers begin at $53,460 and are available on this website (https://graduate.ucr.edu/postdoctoral-studies). All UC Riverside Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to participate in the Postdoctoral Scholar Benefit Plans, which include medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance. Candidates should apply directly to Dr. Sydney Glassman via email to sydneyg@ucr.edu by submitting a single PDF file containing: Curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter indicating your research interests and how you meet the minimum qualifications, and listing the contact information of three references. The subject of the email should be “Postdoctoral Scholar in Fungal Ecology”.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position- Doyle Lab, Louisiana State University

The Doyle Lab at Louisiana State University is recruiting a postdoctoral research associate to be involved in a project to understand the role of soil microbiota in the dieback of Phragmites australis along the Gulf Coast and research to develop approaches leveraging native soil microbes for restoration efforts. The postdoctoral research associate will be expected to play a part in designing and conducting field, mesocosm, greenhouse, and laboratory experiments, analyzing data, writing manuscripts, presenting results at meetings and conferences, and mentoring undergraduates. Prior experience with microbiome data collection and statistical analysis is required. Ability to carry out strenuous work in a hot and humid climate in coastal marsh habitats will be necessary. Demonstrated experience carrying out microbiome studies, preferably in the context of plant-soil-microbe interactions, is required. Preference will be given to those with a background in mycology and/or experience working with fungal and bacterial cultures. Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills and a willingness and ability to interact and collaborate with other scientists are essential to the success of the research. A valid Louisiana State driver’s license and ability to drive is required at the time of appointment. A start date in March is preferred.

Please contact Vinson Doyle if you have any questions at: vdoyle@agcenter.lsu.edu

Applications should be submitted here

Mycology Colloquium

Hi there! We are planning to have monthly meetings to highlight and offer opportunities to present research!

We encourage you to volunteer and share your research with us!

Do you want to check the recording of previous Mycology Colloquiums? Check our YouTube channel or check them here!

Submit an abstract, title and other info to the following Google Form and we will get in contact with you!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdaoCtuXZapMIqCy5l67rrzve_ro9qOpx1P8ZeSPFRIJwhW9Q/viewform?usp=sf_link

Bioinformatics Resources

Hi there!

This section will list resources for bioinformatics that we thought might be useful!

If you have additional bioinformatics resources you would like us to share send us an email at students.msa@gmail.com.

1. Introduction to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

This is a GitHub for the Harvard course of Intro to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology! This resource was set up by: Xiaole Shirley Liu, Joshua Starmer, Martin Hemberg, Ting Wang, Feng Yue, Ming Tang, Yang Liu, Jack Kang, Scarlett Ge, Jiazhen Rong, Phillip Nicol and Maartin De Vries.

2. A ggplot2 Tutorial for Beautiful Plotting in R

This is a tutorial for the ggplot2 package on R. The tutorial was set up by Cédric Scherer, check the following Tweet for more info of the tutorial https://twitter.com/CedScherer/status/1335918784729800704?s=20.

Graduate Student at Whitman Lab

The Whitman Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are recruiting a new graduate student (MS or PhD) to join their Soil Ecology lab starting as soon as summer or fall of 2021!

“Students will work with Dr. Thea Whitman as an advisor to develop a project investigating the effects of wildfires on soil microbial ecology and organic matter biogeochemistry. The ideal candidates would have a strong interest in soil ecology and experience in at least some of the following: field or laboratory research, microbiology, soil science, biogeochemistry, ecology, statistical analyses, or bioinformatics (Python or R).

Students will be enrolled in the Soil Science graduate research program (or can potentially be advised through Plant Pathology, the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, Agroecology, Environment and Resources, or Environmental Chemistry and Technology) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the position will be a 50% Research Assistantship that will include a stipend of $2,068/month. Health care benefits are included in the appointment. UW- Madison has a strong culture of collaboration across fields, and the selected graduate students will interact with researchers from diverse fields, including microbiology, geography, forest ecology, agronomy, and environmental studies.

Applications should be submitted to twhitman@wisc.edu by February 26, 2021, and include a letter describing your interest in the position, a CV, a record of grades (e.g., copy of transcript), and the name and contact information for three references. Successful applicants will need to apply to the Soil Science graduate program through the UW Madison graduate school and be accepted (requires TOEFL scores (if applicable), official transcripts, and letters of recommendation; does not require GRE scores).”

Check Dr. Whitman’s lab website for more info! https://whitmanlab.soils.wisc.edu/

Research Position with the USDA

About this Position:

This position is with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station (NRS). They are seeking for a Research Biologist with an emphasis on mycology, located in Madison, WI. This is a full-time permanent position and the selected candidate will be eligible for a full benefit package including health/life insurance, retirement benefits, vacation and sick leave.

The position will be part of the Center for Forest Mycology Research (CFMR) in the Northern Research Station (NRS Research Work Unit 16). The CFMR is a nationally and internationally recognized source for mycological knowledge and includes a large fungal herbarium and culture collection. The mission of the CFMR is to advance the science of mycology as relates to high-priority fungi critical for forest health and management. The person selected for this position will be responsible for developing research tools and coordinating research teams that address specific solutions to problems that involve high-priority fungi for restoring or maintaining healthy ecosystems. The incumbent is expected to undertake research that will apply mycology, plant pathology and related fields to benefit the health and resiliency of forest resources. Further, the incumbent will be expected to engage CFMR stakeholders and other researchers to define forest health-related research needs in the CFMR over both short and long terms.

Qualification Requirements

Those who are interested must meet the qualification requirements for the GS-­‐0401 series that is covered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions–GS-­‐12-­‐0401: Research Biologist. The OPM Qualification Standards Handbook Manual is available for the review at any federal personnel office OR on the Internet at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/SEC-­‐IV/A/gs-­‐admin.asp. Specialized knowledge of mycology will be needed for this position, with a Ph.D. in a field relating to mycology, such as plant pathology, botany, biology, etc., or equivalent experience.

TO APPLY FOR THIS POSITION:
• Go to USAJOBS https://www.usajobs.gov/
o You must set up or have an existing USAJOBS profile.
o Search/locate the announcement number, once available.
o Select position(s) and location(s) you are interested in and begin the application process.
o You must complete and submit your application by the closing date specified on the announcement.

Check more details at https://msafungi.org/research-position-northern-research-station-madison-wi/

Carolina Piña-Páez

caro - Carolina Piña Páez

Carolina Piña Páez grew up in Hermosillo, Sonora, México. She is currently doing research on the Madrean Sky Islands of Arizona and Mexico. Her advisor is Joey Spatafora. 

Tell us about your project! 

My project combines fieldwork and laboratory experiments to unravel past climate change cycles’ effects on Rhizopogon and their hosts (Pinaceae) in the Madrean Sky Islands of the Southwestern US and Northwestern Mexico. Specifically, I’m studying how Rhizopogon salebrosus has migrated with its hosts and how isolation and environment is shaping its evolutionary trajectory.

What awards would you like to brag about?

I’ve been fortunate to have received scholarships from multiple mushroom societies from North America:

  • 2019 Ben Woo Scholarship – Puget Sound Mycological Society
  • 2019 Anita Summers award – Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University
  • 2018 Oregon Mycological Society award
  • 2018 Sonoma County Mycological Association scholarship
  • 2016-2020 CONACYT scholarship recipient for PhD studies
  • 2013 Henry Pavelek Memorial Scholarship – North American Truffling Society

What are your career goals/plans for after you’re done your current position?

My ultimate career goal is to become a professor at a university. I’d love to teach classes in combination with research and fieldwork.  Probably the next step for me is a postdoc position. I’m particularly interested in how recombination impacts genetic diversity.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

It has to be a truffle! Rhizopogon is the closest to my heart, as it was my first truffle but also it’s the protagonist of my PhD project. Rhizopogon salebrosus sporocarps feed a lot of small mammals in the forest, as well as playing a crucial role in seedling establishment after disturbance (like the fires that the West Coast is experiencing right now).

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

Their ability to survive and acquire food from many different sources. Just think about all the different trophic modes present in the Kingdom Fungi! 

Who is your mycology role model?

Jim Trappe

Any great stories from field work?

In 2018, we were in Mexico sampling truffles and collecting soil for greenhouse experiments.  Tláloc was generous, and we had a great year collecting with more than 200 Rhizopogon specimens found. We isolated some cultures in the airbnb, and the soil samples were triple-bagged— as indicated by the USDA—we had a transportation permit, everything was seemingly in order.  The original plan was that Aldo Saldaña, my friend and collaborator, would take us to the airport in Tucson. When we were crossing the border in Nogales, AZ, there was something wrong with the permit…they said that the samples needed to be sent to El Paso, TX, where they could potentially be destroyed!  I asked if there was a possibility that Aldo could take the samples back to México, buying some time, so we could fulfill the requirement that was missing (a heads up email to the border patrol 22 days prior the border crossing). They allowed Aldo to take the samples back, and problem 1 was resolved! Then, we had to figure out how to get to the airport, since our ride was now going back to Mexico with our samples. We walked to the closest gas station in the pouring rain and we experienced the fury of the monsoon. Finally,  we were able to book a shuttle back to Tucson. Once safe at home in Oregon, I sent the infamous email to the US Customs & Border Patrol Agriculture Specialist. Then a return trip a month later meant that I was able to cross the samples without issue.

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

Cooking is one of my biggest passions, I also enjoy beadwork and to learn new weaving techniques.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m actively looking for a Post doc position, if you’re looking for a new postdoc, send me an email: pinapaec@oregonstate.edu.

PhD Fellowships Plant Pathology at Purdue University

The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue has a new PhD training program in Quantitative Plant Pathology (QP3), funded by the USDA and Purdue Research Foundation. QP3 provides funding for students to earn their PhDs in one of 13 plant pathology labs at Purdue: https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/Pages/researchprofiles.aspx. We are searching for talented students who are eager to make a difference through plant pathology.

Plant pathogens cause over $75 billion in crop loss worldwide and threaten to further impact food supply as climate variability and agricultural intensification worsen.  Plant pathologists need skills to analyze big data, develop epidemiological models, or develop models of plant-pathogen interactions on a cellular and molecular scale. The QP3 program will comprehensively train the next generation of plant pathologists in basic studies of molecular plant-microbe interactions as well as applied areas in disease diagnosis, epidemiology and disease management.

First semester students work in three different plant pathology labs to gain experience prior to choosing the laboratory in which to do their PhD. Students can take coursework across a range of plant pathology and quantitative biology courses and participate in a peer-mentoring program. In addition to scientific training, QP3 provides leadership and internship opportunities to prepare students for a variety of scientific careers. With a range of plant pathology faculty and unique imaging and diagnostic resources, Purdue University is uniquely positioned to offer this innovative doctoral training program.

To be eligible, applicants must have:

1.    Undergraduate GPA higher than 3.0

2.    Experience in plant pathology or plant biology (lab, field, academic or industry)

3.    Letter of recommendation from advisor of plant pathology/biology experience

4.    Not previously enrolled in BTNY graduate program at Purdue

The application deadline for QP3 is Dec. 15. Applicants apply to the BPP department through the Purdue Graduate School: https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/, and list ‘plant pathology’ as their area of interest.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, asi2@purdue.edu.