Fungi and Lichens Collections
The mycology collection at The Field Museum is a major resource for studies in evolution, systematics, and biodiversity of fungi and lichens and conservation of their habitats. It consists of currently over 200,000 specimens with world-wide coverage and broad taxonomic representation. It is rich in type collections, especially of neotropical taxa and historical types from North America, Europe, and Asia.… more
The mycology collection at The Field Museum is a major resource for studies in evolution, systematics, and biodiversity of fungi and lichens and conservation of their habitats. It consists of currently over 200,000 specimens with world-wide coverage and broad taxonomic representation. It is rich in type collections, especially of neotropical taxa and historical types from North America, Europe, and Asia. The strengths of the collection are the Agaricales sensu lato in the Basidiomycota or club fungi (e.g., mushrooms, boletes, false-truffles, puffballs, chantrelles, tooth fungi, and coral fungi), the Sordariomycetes in the Ascomycota or sac fungi, and the lichenized Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, specifically tropical and leaf-inhabiting species and collections from the Great Lakes region. The mycology collection is especially significant in that it represents one of only two active, large centers for neotropical Agaricales in North America, and one of only a handful of herbaria active in such studies in the Western Hemisphere.
Agaricales: The collection attained worldwide prominence largely through the efforts of the late Rolf Singer, resident Research Associate for twenty-five years and author of The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy, now in its fourth edition. Singer was the most active student of Tropical American Agaricales. He also collected and published widely on extralimital American taxa. Many of his collections, including types, and all of his field books and collection notes which include unpublished descriptions, illustrations and keys, are deposited at The Field Museum. A computerized index to the more than 2,500 new taxa (not counting new names and new combinations) published by Singer during his 70-year career has been completed. It documents 595 holotypes at The Field Museum with the remaining types distributed in forty-one other herbaria. In addition to having the largest number of Singer types, The Field Museum houses authentic material of many of his other taxa. Singer's collections and notes are indispensable for systematic, ecological and biodiversity studies of higher fungi and are a major strength of the Museum's holdings.
Other important holdings of Agaricales include the 10,000 specimens of E. T. Harper, which represents one of the preeminent collections of fungi from the central Great Lakes region. These specimens were used as the basis of several books on the fungi of the region. These midwestern collections have been supplemented by numerous more recent collections by Mueller, Singer, Wu, Huhndorf, members of the Illinois Mycological Association, and by the recent acquisition of the fungal herbarium from the Ford Forestry Center, L'Anse, Michigan (1,500 specimens from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). The Field Museum also houses one of the largest and most complete collections of Agaricales from the Gulf Coast States. This collection includes over 3,500 specimens of east Texas fungi donated by D. P. Lewis (Vidor, Texas). Recently, W. Cibula (Picayune, MS) has committed to donate his large collection of Louisiana and Mississippi fungi to Field Museum. These Gulf Coast collections complement the major collecting program on neotropical oak and pine forest fungi being undertaken by Mueller and colleagues. Besides Singer's and Mueller's specimens, outstanding collections from Mexico and Central America include those of J. García (eastern Mexico) and L. D. Gómez and associates (Costa Rica). The collections of Singer, Mueller and Gómez constitute the largest and most important holdings of Central American Agaricales in the world.
* Go to the Singer Index: A searchable database for Rolf Singer's fungal genera, species, infra-species, and publications.
* Go to the NAMA Voucher Collection Project: A searchable database of collections and images from North American Mycological Association forays.
Ascomycota (non-lichenized): This important component of our herbarium has over 40,000 specimens and broad taxonomic and geographic representation. The Great Lakes region is well represented by the collections of E. T. Harper, while P. C. Standley and J. Steyermark deposited Central and South American material. The collection includes a large number of European specimens that were distributed by P. Sydow, O. Jaap, P. Vogel, and the Fuckel Herbarium. Recently, the collection has seen a sharp increase in the number of tropical Loculoascomycetes and pyrenomycetous ascomycetes due to the activities of Assistant Curator Sabine Huhndorf.
Lichenized Ascomycota and Basidiomycota: The lichen collection consists of currently over 80,000 specimens, including nearly 1,500 types, and ranks sixth nationally. Important collections include those of A. W. Herre and E. Hall (North America), P.C. Standley (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), J. A. Steyermark (Guatemala), C. Sbarbaro (Europe) and A. B. Seymour (Eastern North America) and, more recently, those of Associate Curator H.T. Lumbsch (world-wide) and Adjunct Curator and Collections Manager R. Lücking (largely tropical plus one the largest collections of leaf-inhabiting lichens world-wide).
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