Fungal Diversity Survey 

SSMC has now received the results from the mushroom tissues SSMC sent to ALVALABS in Spain to be sequenced. The sequences have been looked at by Danny Miller - and others - and ID results posted to the corresponding iNat observation. Following is the recap of the results of that order; SSMC sent in 28 tissues samples of which 23 resulted in good results. I ordered an additional 4 add-on LSU sequences to hopefully clarify the initial results. All four LSU results were successful and they were all helpful in establishing - confirming - the species uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest DNA of those fungi targeted for the additional DNA results. The 23 successful sequences were spread between twelve different collectors.

Additionally, there were included in the results 10 sequences that qualified for “PNW provisional numbered names”. The PNW name prefix means the resulting sequence does not match existing sequences of established known species. There was also an additional 8 results that were a "first" for Washington State including the Ramaria pictured here. The Ramaria magnifies var. alibidor collected from Cynthia Lake in the Wynoochee drainage by Mary McCallum (with Regina and Steve) has only been sequenced from eastern California (Holotype) and once from Oregon.

Great job SSMC Citizen Scientist!!

Ramaria magnifies var. alibidor

Sequencing, first thoughts; 

Many club members trending towards the scientific mysteries of fungi were curious to learn more about - sequencing. The SSMC answer was to very early on join the original Mycoflora Project (MP) to look at DNA. Members collected their more interesting mushroom discoveries following the protocol set by MP and sent in a small bit of tissue for a DNA look. This usually allowed ID confirmation or in many instances new discoveries. Some of these new discoveries will eventually lead to new named species.


SSMC first sequence efforts were done through MP grants for three originally qualifying MP Projects. The Ramaria Project was added the second year.

1)   Polypore of Washington; Project leader Regina Johnson

2)   South Sound Mycoflora Project (Later renamed South Sound Fungal Diversity Project); Ellen Rice King while under MP Project

3)   Hygrophoraceae of Lower Puget Sound (waxcaps); Steve Ness

4)   Ramaria of Western Washington; Melodie Gates

Each of the four Projects got early grant approval through MP and were more or less successful. We struggled some and MP also struggled as would be expected with such an ambitious original concept. Soon MP needed a fresh start and did so under a new name the FunDiS (Fungal Diversity Survey). FunDiS provided grants and support for the last two years, but it now has run its course and for the time being at least is offering no more sequencing. The FunDiS sequences that were done went through Guelph Univ. in Ontario Canada and can be seen on the BOLD database.


Several hundred tissue sample for sequencing have been sent in by SSMC through FunDiS. Many more have been sent in to various private contractors and universities. Our success rate has been especially good and when we have a failure, we commonly do a second run and most of those do return good quality sequences. Only the Gliophorus laetus (Heath Waxcap) and some polypores remain elusive. Why?

Clearly the sequenced results coming out of our little area where the last glaciers stopped their southern creep down NA are going to have a real impact on taxonomy. That taxonomy will contribute scientifically to the evolutionary history. It will take decades to review and analyze the results that hopefully, surely at some point will be published. 


With sequencing through FunDiS no longer an option, where does SSMC go from here? That is up to us. It is time for the SSMC marvelous team to decide their fate. Those valuable students at Evergreen who brought in so much energy and knowledge are moving on with writing up their own discoveries. Their potential is unlimited! 

Many of our submittals have not gone through the complete process yet. When they do they will be posted on BOLD and we can then decide how to categorize our initial suspected ID’s. Almost surely there will be additional exciting results! My guess is that they will be posted occasionally as Guelph finishes up over the next six months or so. 

While one arm of FunDiS will be continuing the sequences already in motion, another group of volunteers will be working on moving all of the results that are a good solid sequenced results on to GenBank. 

Your thoughts;

If you have any imaginative ideas or would like to see the SSMC sequencing process move in some remote corner of taxonomy; please share your thinking with the club. This is a very exciting time in taxonomy through sequencing and SSMC has certainly created our own map of sequenced mushrooms in the South Sound.

Photo by Noah Siegel

Help us find and document 10 species of rare, under-documented and potentially threatened fungi on the West Coast. Scientists and conservationists need more data on these fungi in order to better understand and protect them - and all the other fungi they share their habitats with. Your high quality observations can make a difference. 

About the Fungal Diversity Survey

The Fungal Diversity Survey (FDS) is the brand new and powerful process that puts in the hands of citizen scientist the ability to look at the DNA of fungi. The sequenced results opens the door to taxonomy and species ID as never before. 

Sequencing payment

If you need to make payment for DNA sequencing, you can do so here, (or click the image). 

Sequencing; How did we get here?

The SSMC original introduction to sequencing was through an exciting adventure designed to introduce Citizen Scientist to the world of DNA. The original idea was sponsored by NAMA and was designed by visionaries who called it the Mycoflora Project (MP). The SSMC was enticed in the beginning by grants which paid for early sequencing. 

Early growing pains of the MP caused this program to stall. With the grant money now drying up, coupled with a frustrating process, the SSMC struck out on their own. The SSMC Board generously continued to back member sequencing with financial contributions. Some tissue samples went to Purdue, then ALVALABS in Spain and finally to Molecular Solutions in Portland.

The Future, what now?

Building on what was learned initially, the original MP was shut down and revamped into a brand new effort which is called the Fungal Diversity Survey. Many of their original bottlenecks have been eliminated and grants will be soon awarded. SSMC has applied for one of these grants. This is an exciting time for Citizen Scientist participating in the world of taxonomy and DNA analysis.

Sequencing through this new program will now be done in Ontario Canada. The end result to the user is that the prices paid for sequencing will be considerably less. Additionally, we will have a new way to look at and analysis our results through BOLD (Barcode of Life Database). Check it out; BOLD.

What has the Olympia group accomplished?

Under various programs the SSMC has had about 230 tissue samples sequenced. (More if you count Mycoblitz sequencing). While not all have yielded a usable sequence, most have. It is a dream to have a one stop clearing house where all sequences can be viewed, but changing hands with various contractors that dream waits to be fulfilled. It is hoped that BOLD will eventually fulfill that goal.

For now, there are various opportunities to view SSMC results

View results here

Mycomap (view under Project name)

GenBank (view as individual entry)

Molecular Solutions I

Molecular Solutions II


Burke Herbarium (searchable by county, name or species)


Ramaria Project Results

SSMC has been working with Danny Miller as his expertise in reading sequence results is top of the that small group of experts. We are extremely lucky to have his generous support!