Macrofungi of Costa Rica

The main goals of the project have been met or exceeded. These included documenting the mycota through field work, developing a comprehensive database of collections, improving facilities for mycological studies in Costa Rica, and training students. The development of this web site was an added feature.

Field Work.--The PIs and the project's Postdoctoral Research Associate made extensive collections during multiple field trips each year since July 1993. The three Costa Rican graduate students trained through this project (see section on education below) regularly collected during each rainy season since August 1993. Long-term study plots/areas were developed at four sites (San Gerardo de Dota and Jard�n de Dota in the Cordillera Talamanca, and Prusia and Bosque del Ni�o in the Cordillera Central). Luís D. Gómez continued his long-term sampling of the mycota in the southern Talamanca mountains. Over 2000 collections consisting of over 400 identified species and a large number of undescribed taxa were obtained during this field work. Based on the number of previously uncollected and undescribed species found on each trip, we believe extensive additional collecting will be necessary to document the agaric mycota of Costa Rican forests. These collections are deposited in the Mycological Herbarium, University of Costa Rica and /or at INBio (Costa Rican National Biodiversity Institute) with duplicates housed at The Field Museum or The New York Botanical Garden.

Development of comprehensive database.-- Specimens obtained during field work, as well as historical specimens, have been entered into databases residing at FMNH, NYBG, and INBio, and UCR. These data are searchable at the following URLS: and

Upgrading Mycological Facilities in Costa Rica.-- Laptop computers, cameras, geopositioning devices, and literature were purchased for the mycology programs at the University of Costa Rica and Las Cruces Biological Station to facilitate databasing, describing specimens, and georeferencing collections. Improvements in the Mycological Herbarium at the University of Costa Rica included the purchase of specimen boxes to store collections, new herbarium cabinets, and air conditioner and dehumidifiers to provide appropriate environmental conditions in the herbarium for the long-term preservation of collections. The purchase and/or donation of pertinent mycological literature is ongoing. A new 4-wheel drive vehicle was purchased for use by the project and by the School of Biology at UCR. New herbarium cabinets, computers, and a camera were purchased for INBio through this grant and the NIH supplement.

Student Training.-- Three Costa Rican students have been trained through this project. Loengrin Umaña Tenorio and Milagro Mata Hidalgo defended their theses in March 1995 and received degrees of Licenciatura (Mata Hidalgo, 1995; Uma�a Tenorio, 1995). Milagro Mata Hidalgo has moved on to the first Mycology Curator position at INBio (funded by NIH, see below, under expansion of project). Recently, Loengrin Umaña has also been hired at INBio as an Assistant Curator. Juan Luis Mata finished a M.S. degree in November 1997. He has now completed his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in fungal systematics. The PIs and Postdoc served as members of the committees for each of these students. Additional undergraduates at UCR have been exposed to organismal level biology through their work in the fungal herbarium. The grant's Postdoctoral Research Associate, A. E. Franco-Molano obtained much field and herbarium experience through this project in addition to extensive informal teaching experience. She is now a Professor at the Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia where she has developed an active research and teaching program in mycology. Additionally, five North American students participated in field trips to introduce them to tropical mycology. Three of these students were funded by sources other than the grant. Also, three North American agaric specialists participated in field work to enhance their collaboration on the project; they were funded by sources other than the grant. Juan Luis Mata and Julieta Carranza conducted research at NYBG (trips paid by NYBG) and the Field Museum (supported by the grant). Milagro Mata Hidalgo spent two weeks at the Field Museum working on Costa Rican collections and learning fungal culture techniques. Mueller, through his NIH funded project (see below), hired and trained INBio's first fungal curator and parataxonomist, Milagro Mata and Carolina Cano, respectively.

Expansion of Project.-- Mueller received a grant from the joint NIH-NSF Bioprospecting Opportunity Awards Program (BOA) to expand this project to include screening collections for anti-AIDs and anti-cancer compounds. This project is a cooperation between Field Museum, INBio, and The U.S. National Cancer Institute. This project provided support and training for Milagro Mata, Curator of Macrofungi, INBio, and Carolina Cano, INBio's first fungal parataxonomist plus equipment and supplies that helped establish the herbarium and mycology program at INBio.

A supplement was obtained by Halling from NSF to fund a weeklong "Workshop on Basidiomycetes." 18 students and professors from Guatamala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama attended. The workshop was held in November 2001 at the QERC Research Station in San Gerardo de Dota. A second workshop was held in June 2003, at Santa Rosa in Guanacaste Province.