Ep. 103: Exploring Fungal Taxonomy, Phylogeny & the Future of Conservation (feat. Else Vellinga)


Today on the Mushroom Hour Podcast we are honored to be joined by Else Vellinga.  In her career as a mycologist, Else has described 22 new mushroom species in California. Her most recent work is at the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley, and at UCSF, on the Microfungi Collections Digitization project. She received her training at the National Herbarium of the Netherlands, and earned her PhD at the University of Leiden (layden).  Additionally, Else is a researcher and professor with the Bruns Laboratory at UC Berkeley. The main motivation for her taxonomic work is that it lays the basis for efforts to include mushroom species in nature management and conservation plans.  She has proposed several species for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global database of endangered species. She concentrates especially on Lepiotas, or Parasol mushrooms.  Else is an avid knitter and uses mushroom dyed yarn for her creations.   

TOPICS COVERED:   

  • Growing up in Netherlands Wilderness  
  • What are Scientific Names Based On?  
  • Importance of Physical Features   
  • Impact of DNA Sequences on Taxonomy  
  • ITS, Multiple Gene Sequence and Whole Genome Phylogenetic Information  
  • Monophyletic vs Paraphyletic Genera  
  • What is Sufficient Difference to Make a New Taxonomic Grouping?  
  • Relationship Between Genera and Clades  
  • How are Names Selected? Does There Need to be a Consensus?  
  • Process of Naming a Species  
  • Potential Taxonomic Shakeups  
  • Fungal Conservation  
  • Fungal Diversity Survey  
  • Official State Mushrooms  
  • Education, Outreach and Awareness Central to Conservation Efforts  

EPISODE RESOURCES:   

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