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January-February 2021 
vol. 3, issue 1
Ascocoryne sarcoides
Ascocoryne sarcoides by Richard Jacob

FunDiS 2021

FunDiS is assessing and developing our programs to align with our mission, resources and volunteer capacities.

  • Conservation: We are exploring several exciting options for increasing our focus on fungal conservation.
  • Diversity Database:  We are working on improving and increasing iNaturalist observations and would benefit from additional volunteers.
  • Sequencing:  We are working out procedures for managing data to and from our new partner, BOLD at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. We’re looking for ways to streamline and continue sequencing service beyond 2021, after current funds for sequencing grants to FunDiS projects run out by year's end.

Conservation: West Coast Rare 10 Challenge

  • Our Challenge has inspired lots of people to record and collect rare and threatened fungal species from California to Alaska, and all the way over to Wyoming. Since mid-October, over 40 people have documented 56 sightings of five of our Rare 10 species. The pilot continues until March 31, 2021 so enjoy exploring the woods and fields to discover some of these Rare 10 yourself!
  • Our Rare 10 team of Sigrid Jakob and Christin Swearingen are communicating with FunDiS participants who have found these special fungi. Some participants have been asked to submit dried collections to be sequenced and vouchered at the U. of Oregon fungarium. That’s a nice reward for finding something pretty odd in a distinctive place, gathering good data about the find and its habitat, and posting excellent images.

  • You can view Rare 10 Updates here -- observations on iNaturalist here, observations on Mushroom Observer hereand download our 10 pamphlets here. 

  • Depending on what we learn from this project - from its participation and discoveries - we are considering hosting additional Rare Challenges in other parts of North America in 2021.

Diversity Database

  • Support the FunDiS conservation program by engaging a wide range of amateurs, including beginners, to make high quality, scientifically useful observations and to post them online.

Vetted database on iNaturalist: FunDiS - Fungal Diversity Survey 

  • As of 1/8/2021 our database had 34,013 observations, 3,192 species, 309 people

  • Sigrid: “I welcome every new member, filter out poor observations, and comment where I can. John Plischke is doing most of the verifications/ identifications with Maricel Patino coming in when asked. About two thirds of the current database are identified at this point.”

Important: To continue past this Spring and to expand to Mushroom Observer, the program will need a volunteer coordinator for each platform. Are you up for the job?

New Grants and more...

New Grants
  • We will award a new round of grants to FunDiS projects starting in February. Apply now if you would like to learn about the sequencing of fungi and contribute important information about your finds for scientific study.

  • To participate: start or continue a FunDiS project, complete a new Project and Leader Survey, and then apply for a sequencing grant. Or join an existing project and simply follow the leader. Please review our updated grant criteria before applying. 

  • Apply by January 31, 2021 for the best chance to receive a grant. Awards will be available after that, as funds remain.. You will have until the end of November, 2021 to submit your specimens.

Paid Sequencing
  • You can always purchase sequencing for additional collections in our shop at any time. Please know that our current price of $17 per sequence might be adjusted as our costs change, but we will guarantee the price you pay if you submit specimens within six months.

BOLD Update

  • So far we have submitted five plates (95 specimens each) to our new sequencing partner, BOLD, for Sanger sequencing. After some covid-related delays, we are starting to check and validate sequences that have been completed. We are now working out protocols for getting results back to participants and providing materials for navigating BOLD’s website and interpreting sequences.

Continental MycoBlitz 2019

Cathie Aime of Purdue University reports that she edited and posted the last batch of sequences over Christmas. She says, “We’re down to about 300 now that failed first pass that we are trying to troubleshoot. And about 50 that ITS couldn’t place well so I am also trying to get LSU for.” That means participants might see some additional data posted to our individual observations on iNaturalist.

Importantly, she will post the data to GenBank after careful editing and determination of species for each collection. As she comments, “There are already way too many incorrect or poorly edited sequences in GenBank.” Please do not post your own MycoBlitz data without letting her know to ensure nothing is duplicated.

So, take a look at your submissions in iNaturalist and see which of yours now have sequences and identifications. Check the map to see where each has been found before. Maybe you have discovered range extension or even a new species!

For updates see the results of the MycoBlitz project on iNaturalist, look for background on the Aimelab MycoBlitz pages, and read the original 2019 MycoBlitz FunDiS page (archived).

Blog post: Hebeloma of North America

Our latest blog post, written by Henry Beker (Belgium) describes the fascinating story of how he has used centuries of observations and help from citizen scientists to amass almost 10,000 observations - and almost as many DNA sequences - of Hebeloma, a previously understudied genus.

Henry Beker
Hebeloma nitidum by D. Lewis

FunDiS Website - What’s New

Collecting and vouchering fungi for science

Learn great techniques from a video by Giuliana Furci of the Foundacion Fungi (Chile) posted on our Collect & Document page. Thanks to Giuliana and Ben Kinsley from the Pike’s Peak Mycological Society for permission to use the video; to Ken Beugeleisen for trimming it; and to Gabriela D’Elia for posting it - and for creating a FunDiS Youtube Channel to host the video. 

Uploading MycoMap sequences to GenBank

Longtime volunteer Jeff Stallman ( revised web pages with instructions and offered to be the contact for assistance. See Preparation for GenBank Submission from for Legacy (before Fall 2020) Projects updates

Volunteer Andrew MacMillen has been tuning up our website: “I implemented a thorough rework of the menu and navigation for a cleaner user experience, including 404/redirect work after menu changes. Fixed the menu layout issue. Home page layout ideas. Joomla training for Bill, including menus, redirects, user levels and permissions. Cart product clean up. Installed new Google Analytics & Tools. Pending: home page blog problems, sidebar.”
Flammulina velutipes by George Pushkal

New Face at FunDiS

Welcome Gabriela D'Elia!

Deep Funga Blog Editor, Fungi of Northern Utah Project Leader, and myco-educator.

Shop FunDiS!

Choose from a variety of long- and short-sleeve T-shirts, mugs, a tote bag for your field guide and collecting gear, and even a pillow for your favorite chair!

Social Media Update

Twitter - Danny Haelwaters

  • As of 1/5/2021 we have 368 followers, which is an increase of +66 over the last 28 days. The tweet on the Deep Funga blog about Hebelomas in North America received 2,633 impressions.

Facebook Group & Page - Bethany Teigen

  • As of 1/14/2021 we have 2,760 followers on our page with an increase of +140 new followers since December!
  • "We would like to push our group to be a more engaged discussion board to help FunDiS participants make effective scientific observations and troubleshoot any concerns. Start a discussion about your project today!"

Instagram - Samantha Bucciarelli

  • As of 1/14/2021 we have 658 followers, an increase of +82 followers since December
  • Post interactions have gone up +50% in the last 14 days. 
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Fungal Diversity Survey's mission is to increase scientific knowledge and public awareness of the critical role of fungi in the health of our ecosystems and to better utilize and protect them in a world of rapid climate change and habitat loss.  We do this by equipping citizen and professional scientists with the reporting tools to document the diversity and distribution of fungi across North America.
Our Winter fundraising has been very successful. If you missed it, you can still support our efforts.
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Newsletter Editor: Joanne Schwartz
Newsletter Designer: Sam Bucciarelli
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