CHAMPAIGN, IL. — Illinois Natural History Survey Mycologist Andrew Miller was awarded a National Science Foundation Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) grant to digitize microfungi collections.
Miller will lead the Microfungi Collections Consortium, a group of 38 institutions across 31 states, in their efforts to digitize the more than 1.2 million specimens including slime molds, smut fungi, and powdery mildew. An additional 1.1 million existing records will also be added to the online portal known as the MyCoPortal (http://mycoportal.org/portal/index.php).
"With the macrofungi digitization project providing almost 1.8 million macrofungal specimen records and the microfungi digitization project contributing another 2.3 million records of microfungi, over 4 million fungal records representing nearly every North American fungal specimen in our US collections will be available in the MyCoPortal at the end of this project," Miller said.
Specimen data generated by this project will be used to assess natural and human-induced environmental changes on microfungi distributions, and evaluate the impact of these changes on the function and health of ecosystems.
This is the fifth round of funding through the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. ADBC expands and enhances America's biodiversity collections, providing greater access to centuries of discovery that document the diversity of life on Earth.
The mycological collections of the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign originated with the rust collection of A.B. Seymour (1881–1886) and the powdery mildew collection of T.J. Burrill (1882–1885). The collection contains over 170,000 specimens including basidiomycetes, ascomycetes, imperfect fungi, lichens, zygomycetes, oomycetes, and myxomycetes.
The Illinois Natural History Survey Biological Collections include more than 9.5 million specimens housed in 11 collections. All collections (except birds and mammals) rank within the 15th largest in North America. These collections, some of which date back over 150 years, represent the most complete record of Illinois biota anywhere, and most collections are also global in geographic coverage for many groups.
Sources: Andrew Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
National Science Foundation Awards Announcement
The Microfungi Collections Consortium: A Networked Approach to Digitizing Small Fungi with Large Impacts on the Function and Health of Ecosystems