Wyatt began research with us while a graduate student and then worked as a research assistant with our Chicago area plot studies. He specializes in our local Russula (a thankless job), boletes (also challenging), puffballs, Crepidotus, as well as Xylaria and others.
Wyatt works with Dr. Peter Avis and Gayle Tonkovich on the Northwest Indiana Restoration Monitoring Inventory. Wyatt has been barcoding specimens as part of the nationwide herbarium project to put collections online. For 2016 to 2018 he continues extensive databasing and processing of the lichens and macrofungi in the herbarium.
Volunteers and unpaid interns
Volunteers serve many important roles at the museum and are greatly appreciated.
Lorinda joined the team at the start of 2016. She has been assisting with field work in the woods for several years. Her first herbarium project is taking those specimens boxed by Wes and entering all the information into the database. The data is then edited and identifications checked by Patrick, labels printed and attached, and specimens filed back in the herbarium. The data then goes to Wyatt to put in the museum database online.
This project will complete the digitization of our mushroom (macrofungus) collections for Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. This contributes not only to our local knowledge but the understanding of biogeography of mushrooms in North America.
Maria started volunteering in the herbarium in August 2016. She assisted us with several projects, primarily packaging specimens, glueing labels, and filing in the herbarium. Maria processed Gulf Coast fungi collected by David Lewis. She also processed many of the voucher specimens from the annual forays of the North American Mycological Association.
Arthur Rocky Houghtby
Rocky joined our team as a museum volunteer to pursue his interests in the identification of various members of Strophariaceae and other brown-spored mushrooms. Besides expertise with the microscope, he is an excellent photographer and a contributor to Mushroom Observer: Rocky's observations.
In 2015 Wes started our project of repackaging historic specimens from sheets into boxes. Once repackaged we will be able to update the names, database the information, print new labels, and get the specimen information into the museum's online herbarium database. See Repackaging Methods.
Wes has also assisted on numerous research and collecting trips. The knowledge he gains about mushrooms he puts to use in education programs he conducts as a naturalist with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
Colleagues and visitors
The museum has numerous associated researchers and visiting scientists.
Javier Fernández López
Javier made several visits to the museum during his four month stay in Chicago, the summer of 2015, learning DNA phylogeny methods with Dr. Andrew Wilson at the Chicago Botanic Garden. He was a graduate student at Real Jardín Botánico in Madrid, Spain. He worked on the morphology and sequenced multiple DNA regions from cultures and specimens of the Schizopora and Hyphodontia group to sort out genus and species boundaries. Javier examined collections from the Field Museum herbarium including those from the Chicago area where Schizopora is somewhat common.