Center for Forest Mycology Research Culture Collection and Herbarium

Research Issue

Dan Lindner looks at a specimen in the culture collection.Forest fungi are fundamentally important for forest health and productivity. Of the estimated 1.5 million species of fungi worldwide, only about 10% have been described and named. Key characteristics used to identify species and the relationships among species are in a critical period of change. Changes in the forest environment with respect to land use, access, accidental introductions, and climate have the potential to change the distribution and biodiversity of forest fungi. At the same time, there is increased interest in forest fungi and their activities for applications in pharmaceuticals, bioenergy, and biotechnology. Using forest fungi to meet these needs requires development of stable systems of biosystematics and identification as well as safe repositories to store reference specimens and to preserve potentially useful cultures.

Our Research

Jessie Glaeser looks for  a specimen.Center for Forest Mycology Research (CFMR) scientists undertake basic research to understand the Fungal Tree of Life and use advanced molecular techniques as well as traditional microscopy to understand how fungi evolve, how they are related to each other, and how they can be differentiated and identified. The CFMR herbarium and culture collection constitute a library of the fungal kingdom that is used by researchers throughout the world as reference specimens. The culture collection includes approximately 20,000 living cultures representing 1,600 species of fungi. The associated herbarium contains approximately 50,000 dried specimens representing 3,500 species, with many specimens dating back to the early 1900’s. While many of these are wood-decay fungi, the collection also contains mycorrhizal species (beneficial fungi associated with tree roots), litter decay fungi, soil inhabiting fungi, as well as representatives from other ecological guilds. Whenever a new fungus is discovered, it is formally described based on a “type specimen.” This is the specimen that other mycologists use to understand and identify fungi of that species often decades and sometimes centuries after the species was originally described. The CFMR collection contains approximately 300 type specimens, including important forest pathogens and decay fungi. The electronic searchable catalogue of both herbarium and culture collection is available at https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/tools/mycology/. Requests for cultures can be made to Dr. Dan Lindner and for herbarium specimens to Dr. Beatriz Ortiz-Santana.

Expected Outcomes

The herbarium and culture collection are tools for U.S. and international scientists to:

  • Better define species limits and phylogenetic relationships among beneficial and pathogenic forest fungi.
  • Provide a databank and reference specimens for identification of unknown fungi, especially invasive species.
  • Provide living cultures for biotechnology, as well as pharmaceutical and ecological research.
  • Provide a record of changes in fungal distribution that may be due to climate change, invasive species, or changes in forest health.

Research Results

Justo, Alfredo; Miettinen, Otto; Floudas, Dimitrios; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Sjökvist, Elisabet; Lindner, Daniel; Nakasone, Karen; Niemelä, Tuomo; Larsson, Karl-Henrik; Ryvarden, Leif; Hibbett, David S. 2017. A revised family-level classification of the Polyporales (Basidiomycota). Fungal Biology. 121(9): 798-824. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2017.05.010.

Glaeser, J.A.; Nakasone, K.K.; Lodge, D.J.; Ortiz-Santana, B.; Lindner, D.L. 2013. The culture collection and herbarium of the Center for Forest Mycology Research: A national resource. In: Browning, John; Palacios, Patsy, comps. Proceedings of the Western International Forest Disease Work Conference; 2012 October 8-12, 2012.; Tahoe City, CA. [Place of publication unknown]:Western International Forest Disease Work Conference: 123-129.

Lindner, Daniel L.; Banik, Mark T. 2008. Molecular phylogeny of Laetiporus and other brown rot polypore genera in North America. Mycologia. 100(3): 417-430.

Maynard, Daniel S.; Bradford, Mark A.; Lindner, Daniel L.; van Diepen, Linda T.A.; Frey, Serita D.; Glaeser, Jessie A.; Crowther, Thomas W. 2017. Diversity begets diversity in competition for space. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 1: 0156. 8 p. http://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0156

Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Lindner, Daniel L.; Miettinen, Otto; Justo, Alfredo; Hibbett, David S. 2013. A phylogenetic overview of the antrodia clade (Basidiomycota, Polyporales). Mycologia. 105(6): 1391-1411. https://doi.org/10.3852/13-051.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

Research Partners

  • Last modified: May 21, 2019