NAMA 2018 Workshops and Lectures

Oluna Ceska,  Observatory Hill, Victoria, BC: Macrofungi inventory project 2004-2018

From November 27, 2004 to September 2018 Oluna made over 460 collecting visits to Observatory Hill and recorded/collected more than 1,400 species of fungi from an area of less than 185 acres. The species observed could be considered representative of the mycoflora of many similar sites with Douglas-fir, Oregon White Oak and Western Red Cedar on southern Vancouver Island. The survey yielded more than 5,000 herbarium collections and a DNA study of several genera (Cortinarius, Inocybe, Hebeloma, etc.) revealed several new species for science. This long term study also shows an interesting response of fungi to the global warming.

Adolf Ceska, Mushroom Observer as a sophisticated fungal collection database

Mushroom Observer has two categories of observations. Those are a) observations without supporting herbarium specimens, and b) observations that have supporting herbarium specimens. The MO system works well with the first category, but is vulnerable when dealing with the observations that are supported by voucher collections. For the latter category, Mushroom Observer should follow the established herbarium practices in handling the MO observation information; otherwise the link between the MO observation and the corresponding herbarium collection could be broken. Practically all the collection information required in the herbarium practices is already in Mushroom Observer, but as it is now, it does not meet strict herbarium standards.

John Donoghue, Fungi, Finance and Philanthropy

Edible fungi are used around the world in many ways for the betterment of life. This talk looks at the role that finance and  philanthropy have had in shaping how and where fungi are used. John Donoghue with Northwest Mycological Consultants Inc. has worked on a wide array of mushroom  projects around the world. This talk will highlight some of these projects to illustrate the diversity of uses for edible fungi… in a most entertaining way.

Susie Holmes, NAMA Microscopy Workshop

The objectives for this course are to become familiar with the use of the compound microscope to advance your taxonomy skills. Participants will learn the basics of calibration, wet mounts, staining, spore measurements and explore a diversity of microscopic structures. Scopes, specimens and materials will be provided, though participants are welcome to bring their own equipment. (Fee)

Eric T. Jones & Olivier Matthon,  The History and Future of PNW Commercial Wild Edible Fungi

This multimedia presentation examines commercial wild edible fungi harvesting in western U.S. and Canadian temperate and boreal forests over the last 35 years. We look at what social science has been done, what species are harvested, harvester knowledge, values, practices and economy. We discuss the cultural diversity of commercial harvesters and explore interconnections between commercial and recreational harvesters. We consider how these groups become divided by misunderstanding, racism, classism, and forest science, policy and management. We posit how advancing inclusion, equity, and cooperation between harvesting cultures can help stymie the steady loss of edible fungi habitat, play a role in improving forest health, and increase access to edible fungi habitat for everyone.

Charles Lefevre

Native Oregon truffles are common beneath Douglas-fir, and have been harvested commercially west of the Cascades Range since the 1970’s. They occur in both young and old forests, but reach their highest productivity in 15-30 year old plantations on former pasture or farm land. Because the predominant harvest method is raking, the truffles are mostly immature, which is reflected in low prices and a poor reputation. The introduction of trained truffle dogs to selectively harvest ripe truffles is turning that around, though, with prices for dog-harvested Oregon truffles approaching those of the celebrated European species. The timing couldn’t be better because those same European species are now fruiting in dozens of orchards of inoculated trees in Oregon and throughout the country. As we’ve come to understand the unique problems facing truffle growers in this country, we’re beginning to see acceleration in the numbers of orchards starting production each year. This talk gives an overview of both harvest of the Oregon truffles, and cultivation of European truffles in this country.

Scot Loring, Lichens of the Pacific Northwest

Nearly 6% of the Earth’s surface is estimated to be covered by lichens.  They are fascinating symbiotic organisms that come in a wide variety of shapes and colors.  They can survive unprotected in outer space, grow in the most inhospitable places on the planet, and include some of the oldest known living organisms.  Our understanding of lichens in the Pacific Northwest has increased substantially in recent years.  Scot’s talk, entitled Lichens of the Pacific Northwest, will address the lichenized members of the kingdom of fungi.  This talk will explore what lichens are, their diversity in the Pacific Northwest, their roles in local ecosystems, recent scientific discoveries, conservation efforts, and more.

Cheshire Mayrsohn, Dyeing Workshop

Come join local dyer Cheshire Mayrsohn in exploring the rainbow of dye colors that can be extracted from the mushrooms and lichens of Western Oregon. We will take a day to make dye from 10 or more species of mushrooms and lichens, creating a rainbow of over 20 colors.
All supplies provided.  Includes wool samples and silk scarves. You will receive two silk scarves to practice Shibori-style dye resist techniques.
You will learn how to mordant fiber, make mushroom and lichen dyes, identification basics, and about the importance of ethical harvest. You will take home a small book of yarn samples showing the rainbow of colors dyed in class, how-to handouts to guide future dye exploration, and two beautiful scarves you’ve dyed.
This talk will walk you through this process with several distinctive kinds of mushrooms, and in the process teach us some guidelines about how to learn about mushrooms and tell them apart from each other.

Danny Miller, Computers Can Help Identify Mushrooms - Using MatchMaker and other online resources

Computers can offer a different way to identify mushrooms from the traditional method of following keys in books. Instead of being asked questions that you might not know the answer to, a computer program can simply allow you to tell it what you DO know, and guide you to notice the features that are most unique. Several websites also allow you to enlist the help of the mushroom community and make it easy to be a part of important research into what mushrooms grow in your neighborhood.

Fred M. Rhoades, 3D Stereo photographs of mushrooms

Projected, zoomable stereo images of mushrooms are fun to look at and also can be very useful in understanding the structures and habitats of species.  I’ll explain how these images are taken with a standard camera and assembled with software.  Then we’ll look at some of my favorite shots spanning a great diversity of groups and species.

Fred M. Rhoades, Workshop on stereo photography of mushrooms

This workshop will follow my 3D-stereo presentation.  I will introduce the methods I use to take and edit stereo photographs using any digital camera.  Two photographs are taken of the subject side by side (Cha-Cha technique), changing the orientation just a bit between the two.  We will use some of the collections brought in to take some practice images, transfer these images to computers and use the free program StereoPhotoMaker to produce the digital files that contain both left and right images.  These can be printed, transferred to a cell phone or viewed on a computer screen in a variety of ways using StereoPhotoMaker and other programs.  The technique for producing popup 3D anaglyphs (phantograms) requires additional editing with PhotoShop.  The technique will be explained and demonstrated (see Fungi Magazine Fall 2014).  There are apps available for many smart phones that produce stereo images:  I will demonstrate the i3DSteroid, an inexpensive iPhone app.
Anyone can attend this workshop and observe the techniques but for best success you should bring a digital camera, laptop computer with StereoPhotoMaker installed and a cable or other connection to get your camera's images to the laptop.   Two useful camera additions:  a tripod and a slide-bar attachment for the camera to aid taking the side-by-side photographs, but neither is absolutely necessary.  StereoPhotomaker is available here: - this is a PC program but a version is available that works on many Mac operating systems.  iPhone apps are available through the app store from your iPhone.  If your phone operates on another platform, do some searching and see what you come up with. bring it and demonstrate what you have found.
If you plan to attend and have questions, email me

Seri Robinson, Spalting Fungi: A Colorful Story of Resource Capture and Art History

Wood-decaying fungi often use various pigments to delineate and protect their resources from competing fungi. Explore the various lines and bright colors made by this small class of fungi, and take a trip through the historic uses for these pigments in wood and fiber arts throughout the centuries. At the end, we will have a discussion about the exciting potential for spalting pigments in modern science, especially in the area of batteries and solar cells.

Amy Rossman, Experiences collecting fungi in Neblina Venezuela plus a note on the new nomenclature

Cerro de la Neblina is a flat-topped tepui located at the corner of Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia. Using military transport, dugout canoes, and helicopters a group of biologists were able to explore this biological island. This talk will present my experiences on this expedition collecting tropical fungi. Bottom line: everyone survived in spite of ingesting toxic blueberries and the fungi were amazing! In addition I will provide an explanation of the change to unit nomenclature and its lack of impact on mushroom names.

Barbara “Bitty” Roy, Effects of fire on prairie fungi in the Pacific Northwest

Prairies were once much more extensive in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) west of the Cascades, but have largely been lost due to Euro-American settlement, agriculture, and changes in fire regime.  It has long been appreciated that remnant prairies contain a large number of now rare plant species, but much less is known about the prairie-associated fungi. 
The communities of fungi present strongly depended on the region where the prairies were located (Oregon versus Washington).  Over the course of a single year we found 43 macrofungal species fruiting in Oregon prairies; of these, at least two are known to be rare or uncommon (Amanita pruitii and Tetrapyrgos subdendrophora).  We found fewer prairie-associated species in WA, around 20.  A diversity of fungi inhabit PNW prairies, including rare ones, and that management practices influence aboveground fruiting and belowground community composition. For these reasons fungi should be considered in management decisions.

Ja Schindler, Wild Culture

Live cultures of fungi push forward research in the sciences of medicine – restoration – agriculture – materials and beyond. Cultivating field collections of pathogens – epiphytes – symbionts and  decomposers continuously shape our understanding of fungal life.  This talk highlights and details techniques and innovations in applied mycology, and introduces a new initative to collect cultures from NAMA foray specimens. Info on Culture Lab sessions at the Fungi for the People booth.

Ja Schindler, Myco-Cannabis Symbiosis Research Project ( CannaSymbio )

Introducing an open-input project furthering research on the ecology, impact, and microbe-culture of growing Cannabis sp. for flower. Shifts in legality have opened the opportunity to further research in Cannabis agroecology. Our current focus is expanding data of cultural effects on Arbuscular-Mycorrhizae populations as a keystone microbe group. We are aiming to extend our research base to more Cannabis cultivators, so please join us if you are interested in contributing soil samples or laboratory assistance.

Leon Shernoff, What makes a mushroom strange?

Well, in the beginning, all mushrooms are strange, except for the ones we’ve seen at the table. Then we go out to the woods and see a whole new range of shapes and colors. A strange mushroom, fundamentally, is one with features that we haven’t seen before. How does this affect the way we perceive and learn about mushrooms?
When we see a mushroom that has a strange feature, our attention tends to focus on that feature. We distinguish such mushrooms from all others, but we also lump all mushrooms with that feature together in our mind. But there are often many mushrooms out there with this feature and we need to learn to treat this sort of mushroom as familiar, to stop focusing on this special feature, in order to then see the distinctions between different mushrooms of this type. Learning about mushrooms is thus a perpetual process of noticing distinctive features, and then having those become a familiar background so you can learn new kinds of distinctions.

Joey Spatafora, The Fungal Tree of Life: what have genomes taught us?

The past decade has witnessed a revolution in evolutionary biology of fungi.  We have gone from analyzing small, selected sets of genes to whole genomes. The result is a transformative effect on our understanding of both the patterns and processes associated with fungal evolution.  This talk will provide a general over view of the major groups of fungi and the evolutionary processes that have changed them through time and through associations with other organisms, especially plants.

Joseph Spivack, Beginner's class: Basics of fungi

My beginners mushroom class will address a few main themes such as:
  • What exactly is a mushroom and what is/are the role/s of Fungi in the environment
  • Mushrooms interest in various cultures. 
  • Parts (Morphology) of a Mushroom
  • Learning to ID mushrooms
  • Resources for beginning mushroomers

Richard Tehan, Mushrooms and molecules. The Fascinating Chemistry of Fungi

I will speak about a few notable fungal natural products, the importance of fungal natural products in society, how fungi biosynthesize secondary metabolites, and my research on the evolution of secondary metabolism in Tolypocladium and hypocrealean fungi.  I will discuss some of the compounds they produce, including compounds newly discovered in my lab, their associated ecologies and possible function in nature, as well as their biological activity in antibacterial and anti-cancer assays.

Roo Vandegrift, The fungal genus Xylaria in a tropical cloud forest: ecology, diversity, and conservation aspects

The fungal genus Xylaria (Ascomycota) are ubiquitous wood decay organisms exhibiting a physiological white rot, and also ubiquitous leaf endophytes, particularly in tropical systems. Such fungal/plant symbioses are under-explored, and the benefits to fungal symbionts are particularly unknown. The Foraging Ascomycete hypothesis proposes that some wood-decomposing fungi may shift life-history strategies to endophytism to bridge gaps in time and space between suitable substrates. To test this hypothesis we examine spatial relationships of Xylaria endophytic fungi in the forest canopy with Xylaria decomposer fungi on the forest floor in a remote Ecuadorian cloud forest. 
All five species of Xylaria found as endophytes were also found as fruiting bodies, and we found evidence of spatial linkage between life stages in two species. Additionally, fruiting Xylaria displayed differential habitat preference from those in the endophytic life stage; we also demonstrate that direct transmission of endophytes from leaves to woody substrates is possible. These results indicate that endophytism may represent one way for decomposer fungi to escape moisture limitation, and that endophytic fungi may act as sources of dispersal for decomposer fungi consistent with predictions of the Foraging Ascomycete hypothesis.This study, by necessity, also led to a comprehensive description of the biodiversity of this genus at that site. 
The protected forest where this work took place, Reserva Los Cedros, is now included in new mining concessions from the Ecuadorian government to the Canadian mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources. There are grave conservation implications of metals mining in biodiverse tropical rain forests.

Skye Weintraub, Dinner or Dump it?

Can you tell the difference between two similar looking mushrooms? One is edible or can be made edible and the other one is poisonous, bitter, or has some property that usually makes it unfit for eating. Will you pick the correct mushroom for a delicious dinner or will you dump it? After you make your choice a description of both mushrooms will help you tell the difference. Also included in the presentation is how the edible mushroom can be prepared, and recipes will be available.