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WVMS Funga Sequence Results

In 2021 WVMS Funga was awarded the highest grant from the Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS) of 50 specimens to sequence. Our small study group then consisted of Henry Young, Diana Reeck, Jordan Dodge, Jeanie Taylor and Autumn Anglin. Our project WVMS Funga #1207 is one of hundreds of projects that are a part of FunDiS from all over North America. One of their goals is to document the biodiversity of fungi and we were more than happy to do our part.

We collected fungi, vouchered, photographed, dried, and sampled specimens over about 6 months. Our goal as a group was to send in as many of the rare species from the West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge and more common species that may not have been sequenced because they are seen so often. Diana Reeck did find the Stereopsis humphreyi and I was able to find the Bondarzewia occidentalis and submit samples to be sequenced.

In November 2021, I sent a box of 50 carefully labeled and documented specimens to be sequenced by BOLD. Volunteers at FunDiS carefully plated each specimen from our project and over 700 more specimens. In May 2022, I joined the team at FunDiS as a Sequencing Validator to help ID the specimens that we had sequences for. We just finished this up in July and can now reveal what we have found!

In the spreadsheet you can click on the individual links to go to our observations on iNaturalist to see what we found. Of the 50 specimens we had sequenced only 2 failed, but the rest were great quality and gave us insights into what we had. To make an ID we used GenBank to blast the results of our sequences and then see if anything matched. If the specimen matched 98% or better, we could ID it to species. We used Species Fungorum to cross reference the names from GenBank to make sure we were using the most up to date information. The names of fungi are in flux right now as we utilize DNA technology and build databases with known and unknown species. Our group has possibly discovered 15 new species. 8 of those specimens are probably known, and just need to be renamed from European names, and 7 of those specimens are undescribed as of July 2022.

It is truly an exciting time to be a citizen scientist working with fungi right now. WVMS Funga has since expanded and includes over 10 dedicated citizen scientists. I hope we get the opportunity to sequence our finds again.

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