Monthly Meeting by Zoom Tues. May 9, 2023

Juliet Pendray is well known to most of you. Besides being an active member of SVIMS, she was an active member of Vancouver Mycological Society before moving here with James Holkko.

She is going to share lichens with all of us. 

This is a zoom-only meeting – members should have received a link from our SVIMS President on April 24.  6:45 pm to socialize. 7 pm to start.

Government House Spring Foray 2023

SVIMS members spent the morning of April 29, 2023, at the grounds of Government House. The  18 hectares of the provincial property include extensive natural woodlands (mossy balds, Garry oak meadows) on the south side. 

Forayers were mostly on the lookout for fungi, but it was also the week of the iNaturalist 2023 City Nature Challenge Canada, so foray participants were snapping pictures of lots of other groups of organisms. To see the range of species groups, have a look at SVIMS member Elora Adamson’s iNaturalist observations for the morning.

The foray group was composed of both Government House personnel/volunteers and SVIMS members. SVIMS offers a big THANK YOU to Susan, Janet, Elsbeth, Valerie, Dave, Bryce, Rosemary and all the others who made the event possible. At the end of the foray participants were welcomed at the Government House cottage for refreshments and sharing of finds.

The fungal species for the day can be viewed on iNaturalist. In all, forayers found about 15 different species of fungi (as always, the iNaturalist count may change as other people weigh in on the observations). Not too many large mushrooms were identified–several days of sun had dried out what little had managed to come up.  Still, one group managed to find the beautiful Bolbitus titubans (Sunny Side Up). One log on the property contained abundant corpses of last year’s Laetiporus gilbertsonii, the Hardwood Chicken of the Woods. (Several members made note of the place–perhaps planning to come back in August to see what the 2023 season might produce?) One dry morel turned up in the collection. Foray leaders identified some rusts often overlooked at other SVIMS events.

Photos courtesy of Steven Strybosch. Richard Winder also has some great photos on Facebook.

David Walde and Kem Luther look up references, Ann McCall looks on.
The specimens were laid out on a table at the end of the foray. Andy and Denise help to ID them.
What's a foray without a Ceska! Adolf lends his extensive expertise to the day.
Bob Bromley searches the Garry Oak meadows of Government House for elusive fungi.
At the end of the day, Alan Szafer, Richard Winder, Kevin Trim, and Ken Wong swap stories. Some of them may actually have been true.
Allen finds a good use for old egg cartons.

SVIMS spring foray at Royal Roads 2023

The group gathers at the start of the foray.

About 25 SVIMS members gathered at the back entrance to Royal Roads on Sunday, April 2, 2023, to see what mushrooms the spring weather had brought.

Club members found about 23 species. The list, with pictures, can be found on iNaturalist. (Usual warning–the names on the list may change as experts from around the world add their opinions).

Of special interest were two mycorrhizal mushrooms–an Inocybe and a Cortinarius. A Melanoleuca was vouchered for further study.

Thanks to Elora Adamson for helping with the recording. And Steven Strybosch for the group pictures on this page.

Half-way through, a pause to look at some mushroom finds
Andy talks about trees and mushrooms
From young to old
Andy and Adolf scan for small mushrooms

Symbiosis show at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

A new show opened on Saturday at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It is titled “Symbiosis,” and it features several types of mushroom-related art.

Of special interest to SVIMS members:

(1) An interactive, full-wall simulation of a BC forest with its associated mycorrhizal network. This was put together by Colton Hash. A must-see (short video with this post).

(2) About a hundred ceramic, life-sized models of East Coast mushrooms. Incredibly accurate.

SVIMS Log Inoculation Workshop

Svims members met for a log inoculation workshop on Saturday March 18, 2023. It was graciously hosted by Steve Fischer on a beautiful, almost official spring day in the lovely Blenkinsop Valley. There were morning and afternoon classes of eager SVIMS members. They started with a couple of piles of fresh-cut alder and cottonwood. 

During the classes, attendees learned about log inoculation techniques. They asked questions about the different methods of inoculation, the spawn, types of substrate, and the best habitat for storing the logs. Everyone then went to work, inoculating oyster and shiitake spawn into their logs using the drill-and-fill method. Steve Fischer demonstrated different inoculation techniques, including the curve-cut method and the totems-sealed-with-clay method. 

Participants hope to see some fruitification of their efforts next spring or fall! Thanks to all who helped out procuring logs, equipment and assistance.

The setting
The end result, brought back in a time machine from a year in the future.
Happy pluggers.
Logs waiting for inoculation
Steve demonstrates

Monthly Meeting by Zoom Tues. March 14, 2023

Tyson Ehlers will talk with us about Slime Moulds.

In this talk: Tyson will provide an overview of the biology of myxomycetes, their morphology, life history, and habitats. He will discuss collection and storage techniques and cover the major taxonomic groups with photographs and tips for identification.

A zoom link has been sent (March 13) to SVIMS members by e-mail. There is no in-person meeting. Starting time for the zoom meeting is 6:45 pm.

Tyson Ehlers is a forest ecologist and biologist from the Slocan Valley, BC. His taxonomic interests are varied and tend toward the overlooked and understudied, which naturally led him to devote much of his time to studying fungi. He is an avid mushroom collector and photographer and strives to document the diversity of macrofungi in BC and has worked on numerous mycological research projects. 

Along with his scientific interests, Tyson guides mushroom forays, advocates for the conservation of wild mushroom habitat, and has coauthored a book, Mushrooms to Look for in the Kootenays. 

Like many who spend their time looking for fungi, slime moulds inevitably caught his attention. But there wasn’t much information available to learn more about these strange creatures and they remained an enigmatic curiosity. Somehow this passing interest became an obsession and for the past several years Tyson has devoted his time to the slime. He has been collecting and learning about slime moulds and is collaborating with other BC myxo-enthusiasts to produce a baseline inventory and guidebook for the slime moulds of BC.

Background. Slime moulds are not fungi, but they have traditionally been studied by mycologists because they look similar and occupy many of the same habitats. Commonly referred to as plasmodial slime moulds, myxomycetes are amoeboid eukaryotes which produce macroscopic fruiting bodies with a relatively complex structure. They are unicellular organisms which have demonstrated remarkable abilities, such as solving mazes, and “learning” in the absence of a nervous  system. Slime moulds have little economic value, they are not an important source of food or medicine, and they are challenging to find and hard to identify. But they are exquisite life forms, and perhaps that is their main attraction.

Myxomycetologists are few and far between. There are only a handful in Canada and here in BC there are only three of us giving myxomycetes serious attention. There are few regional guides to aid in identification, and it has been said that knowledge of myxomycetes is  equivalent to that of fungi 30 years ago. But the myxo-revolution is spreading, aided by advances in extreme macrophotography that is revealing the elegant beauty of these extraordinary creatures. Highly skilled professional photographers are publishing award-winning photographs in a variety of media, winning over legions of new fans.

Internet forums, like the Slime Mould Identification and Appreciation Facebook group and iNaturalist provide a venue for information sharing. And for the first time ever, slime moulds are included in the General Status of Species in Canada in the recent Wild Species 2020 report.

With just over 1000 species described worldwide, it would seem a simple task to inventory myxomycetes nation-wide. But most of
them are tiny and not easy to find or identify and few individuals have historically
contributed to building an inventory. In BC alone, there were fewer than 100 species to be found in provincial herbaria prior to our work. In the past few years, we have now documented over 200 species in BC, many of which are new records for Canada, some new to North America, and at least one new undescribed species.