Project update – Lost & Found Project - October 2014

This will be the first in a series of reports on project activities, available as public documents on the project website http://fungi.myspecies.info/content/lost-found-fungi-project

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Appointment of Steering Committee

The following have kindly agreed to join the Project Steering Committee as representatives of their organizations and eminent mycologists in their own right:

David Genney (Scottish Natural Heritage and guardian of the Scottish Fungi website)

David Harries (British Mycological Society Recording Network Coordinator)

Allan Pentecost (Vice President, British Lichen Society)

Andy Taylor (James Hutton Institute)

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Promulgation and communication

We have presented information on the project in various formats and venues to date. These have included:

  • A presentation at the BMS Group Leaders Meeting, Hereford, June 2014
  • Establishment of the project website, July 2014
  • Included a note on the project in a news bulletin circulated to group contacts of 33 BMS-affilliated recording groups, July 2014.
  • Email communication with the leader of the ABFG, who agreed to pass on details of the target species once these are finalized [August 2014].
  • A presentation to about 150 delegates in a symposium on Fungal Conservation at IMC10, Bangkok, August 2014 [supported in part by the BMS]
  • Introduction and advertisement of the project at the BMS Upland Foray at Ullapool, August 2014 [including trialling of an incentive scheme!]
  • Publication of an article on the project in the BMS Mycologists’ News, August 2014
  • Introduction and advertisement of the project at the BLS Field Meeting in the South Lakes, September2014

New and interesting records

This “good news” item will become a regular feature in reports on the Lost & Found project, and will include records from the list of target species and new/notable records of other taxa. The species will become priority targets for pages on the project website.

Abrothallus caerulescens, a parasite of the lichen Xanthoparmelia conspersa, collected by Paul Cannon from VC69 Westmorland. First record for Northern England.

Anthracoidea bigelowii. A smut of Carex bigelowii inflorescences, first UK record with a definable locality and date, by Stewart Taylor from VC 96 Easterness.

Anthracoidea inclusa. First UK records, from VC96 Easterness by Stewart Taylor on inflorescences of Carex rostrata and C. x involuta (C. rostrata x C. vesicaria). A segregate species of an aggregate formerly referred to as A. caricis; there may be further historical records under this ID.

Anthracoidea lasiocarpae, infecting ovaries of C. lasiocarpa. New GB record by Stewart Taylor from VC 96 Easterness. As with A. inclusa earlier misidentified records may exist.

Anthracoidea scirpi. A fifth locality for this species on Trichophorum x foersteri in VC96 Easterness, again found by Stewart Taylor.

Armillaria ectypa, listed  in Sect.41, Sect. 42, Scottish Biodiv. List, N. Ireland Priority Species List, EN in GB & IOM (2006). A new site in VC64 M-W Yorkshire, discovered by Malcolm Storey.

Geoglossum uliginosum, in boggy ground in VC96 Westmorland, collected by Catherine Tregaskes. Sixth UK site, and the first in England.

Muellerella ventosicola, a parasite of the lichen Rhizocarpon lavatum, collected from VC96 Westmorland by Paul Cannon. Sixth UK site, and the first in England.

Puccinia cladii. A rust of Cladium mariscus in fen habitats, it was redisovered by Marcus Yeo in VC27 E Norfolk in June 2014. There are 37 records of the species in FRDBI, but until this sighting none since 1958. NB. Species such as this (i.e. rediscovered after more than 50 years and treated by provisional RDLs as Extinct) will be informally referred to as Lazarus species.

Tomentella terrestris, a brown corticioid species, found by Alick Henrici in VC108 W Sutherland and confirmed by Martyn Ainsworth. Otherwise only recorded from E Kent in 1866 and Pembrokeshire in 2007. 

Progress on the Top 100 list

We currently have a Top 309 List, compiled mainly by Martyn Ainsworth with contributions from Geoff Kibby and Alick Henrici, and with a small further number of candidate species from Paul Cannon and members of the recording community.  This is a work in progress and will be refined and expanded appropriately.

Martyn and Paul have considered whether it should be a high priority to reduce the list to 100 (which will help focus the project) or to make regional and/or habitat-based sublists from the 309 (and others as appropriate) to send to the local groups (which may give them extra incentive to refind species). Developing species pages for the wider set will be more of a challenge and could delay the main recording effort.

Species pages

There are currently seven pages for project species, put together as examples of the Top 100 (or 309). The identification of one of these (Exobasidium splendidum) is currently under question and will shortly be removed pending further study. The overall structure of the pages is set by the Scratchpad design team (it conforms to the Taxonomic Databases Working Group description module) but there have been requests for pdf species pages which can either be derived manually from the existing information or (with some financial investment) possibly generated mechanically.

Recording module

Martyn and Paul have had some discussions as to how to record and present species data (including unsuccessful searches), but no system has reached consensus as yet. We are currently considering a semi-structured approach using a spreadsheet or Word template; hopefully progress will be made on this in October/November.

Staff appointments

The current restructuring at Kew has made it very difficult to progress with the appointment of project staff, but we have received the final go-ahead to advertise for the project coordinator post. The technical post will be delayed until April 2015 as project voucher specimen processing is not currently time-consuming.

Project budget

We have £10000/year earmarked for support of local groups/individuals carrying out activities relevant to the project, or possibly indirect support provided by the specialist societies etc. Suggestions on how this money can be used most effectively are welcome.

Field programme

To date, the project has paid for Kew staff representation on the BMS Ullapool Foray and the BLS South Lakes meeting. We will be putting together a programme for the rest of the 2014/15 year and for 2015 over the next few months; this will include support for the main BMS/BLS meetings, and independent Kew fieldwork to search for particular candidate species. We would like to link up with local groups once the species lists have been established, to help search for species in their areas and to provide training on ID etc.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith