FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug 25, 2015
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 currently 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 eleven separate 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.
Established in 1858, the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) mission is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. With a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, it is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation.
The Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the home of the Illinois State Scientific Surveys: Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. Established by statute July 1, 2008 it builds on the Surveys' reputations for basic and applied research and service. With 700 employees and a budget of more than $65 million in applied science, the Institute is one of the largest institutes within the University. Prairie Research Institute scientists work to support economic development and natural and cultural resource sustainability for Illinois and beyond.
Illinois Natural History Survey