CITIZEN SCIENCE 

 

DNA sequencing through the Mycoflora project adds another piece to the identification puzzle

by Jessica Benson Evans
Remember that beautiful Amanita that I collected at the NEMF gathering in Geneseo, NY? Based on its morphology – striate cap margins and a sack-like volva at the base – I called it “Amanita sect. Vaginatae” and dropped it off at the display tables. While I was away on an afternoon collecting walk, Rod Tulloss tentatively identified it as
Amanita luzernensis, a provisional name he had given to a species collected in Luzerne County,Pennsylvania. 

The physical characteristics seemed to be a great match, but we could obtain another piece of the puzzle in the species determintation by utilizing DNA sequencing. In this case, my Amanita was saved and dried at the NEMF foray so that it could go for sequencing through the North American Mycoflora project. The results determined that it is not actually A. luzernensis; instead, it is another as-yet-unnamed species within Amanita sect. Vaginatae! Click here to see the observation on I-naturalist, posted by Mycoflora project coordinator Stephen Russell. For Rod Tulloss’ page on this unnamed Amanita species click here.

This coming winter, we will be offering a workshop on how to participate in the Mycoflora project, including how to write great descriptions. Each of us can contribute to our club’s citizen science project: photographing, collecting, describing, and drying specimens for herbarium storage and/or DNA sequencing!

PVMA Citizen Science Workshops

Jessica, Sue, and Paul will be introducing our club’s Citizen Science project; you’ll learn about our project goals, discover how to collect and document specimens for the project, and participate in a walk on the trails at Dianna’s to put your new knowledge into practice. We’ll walk you through all the necessary steps for participation in this incredible project.

Topics covered during the workshop will include:
- Documenting fungal specimens in the field through note-taking and photography - Collecting specimens responsibly
- Creating thorough descriptions of collected specimens
- Using Mushroom Observer to record information on specimens
- Using the Mycoportal and GenBank to decide which specimens to submit
- Preserving specimens for herbarium storage

Save the date! A Citizen Science Workshop was scheduled for Saturday, July 21st from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Dianna’s house, 441 Kennedy Road, Leeds. There will be others scheduled soon