44th Mid-Atlantic States Mycology Conference (MASMC)

By Priscila Chaverri, Chinyere A. Knight, and Catalina Salgado-Salazar

For 44 years, mycologists from the greater Mid-Atlantic region have been meeting annually for the Mid-Atlantic States Mycology Conference (MASMC). Every spring, MASMC has provided scientists, students, and non-professional mycologists with an opportunity to present their latest research findings, meet new colleagues, and develop and strengthen scientific collaborations in a less formal venue than at national or international scientific meetings. MASMC 2023 was co-hosted by the Department of Natural Sciences at Bowie State University (Bowie, MD) and the USDA ARS Mycology & Nematology Genetic Diversity & Biology Laboratory (Beltsville, MD), 14-16 April.

This year’s MASMC was dedicated in memoriam to the late Dr. Lafayette Frederick. Dr. Frederick (or “Fred” as he liked to be called by colleagues and friends) was an American plant pathologist and mycologist that

Photos of Dr. Frederick provided by his son David Warren Frederick (left: 2016; right: 1933)

specialized in myxomycete ecology and systematics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lafayette_Frederick). He was born in Bog Dog, Mississippi, on March 9, 1923, and passed away December 29, 2018 (aged 95). The year 2023 would have marked his 100th birthday! His legacy includes training many generations of underrepresented minorities and The Lafayette Frederick Underrepresented Minorities Scholarship given by the Association of Southeastern Biologists. He trained 54 students, MSc (25) and PhD (29), in various areas such as mycology, plant pathology, microbiology, and plant physiology, among others. He was one of the founders of MASMC back in 1979 when he was at Howard University. Bowie State University, as well as Howard University, are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and it was long overdue that we dedicated this event to one of the very few black mycologists in the history of the United States.

We had approximately 40 participants from Bowie State University, Clemson University, Duke University, Fungal Diversity Survey, L.F. Lambert Spawn Co. Inc., Lock Haven University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, SAS Institute, Tuskegee University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USDA-ARS, and Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. We started the program with an emotional talk by Dr. Chinyere A. Knight (Tuskegee University) entitled: “Some are sent and others just went: The impact of Dr. L. Frederick’s development of six generations of underrepresented minority scientists.” Our keynote speaker,Dr. Rytas Vilgalys (Duke University), talked about “Invasion biology of mycorrhizal and saprophytic fungi linked to exotic forestry.” After that, we had 7 student and postdoc oral presentations and 10 posters. The complete program can be accessed here: https://bowiestate.edu/_resources/masmc-2023-program.pdf.

Group photo in front of the Bowie State University mascot

The social events, filled with dance music and food, took place at Dr. Catalina Salgado-Salazar’s home in Beltsville, MD. Catalina’s home was once owned by the mycologist Marie Leonore Farr. “Dr. Marie L. Farr, known as Lennie, contributed to a systematic understanding of two major unrelated groups of organisms: slime molds and tropical fly speck and black mildew ascomycetes. Most of her professional career was spent as a research scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Mycology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland [now the Mycology & Nematology Genetic Diversity & Biology Laboratory], an organization in which Lennie was one in a long and continuing line of accomplished women.” (Source: Rossman A.Y. 2021. In memoriam: Marie Leonore (“Lennie”) Farr, 6 September 1927–13 May 2014 First Woman President of MSA. Mycologia 113: 509-511).

Sunday, April 16th, was the traditional foray in search for morels. This year we did not find any morels, but in the few

According to some, the best collection of the day: Suillus weaverae

hours we rummaged through the Patuxent Research Refuge, we found 11 species of ascomycetes, 26 basidiomycetes, and 3 myxomycetes: ASCOMYCOTA: Biscogniauxia atropunctata, Cladonia sp. (lichen), Flavoparmelia caperata (lichen), Jackrogersella multiformis, Lachnum virgineum, Parmotrema sp. (lichen), Peziza phyllogena, Punctelia rudecta (lichen), Scorias spongiosa, Trapeliopsis granulosa (lichen), and Urnula criterium. BASIDIOMYCOTA: Cronartium quercuum on Pinus, Cryptoporus volvatus, Daedaleopsis confragosa, Ganoderma cf. lucidum, Hetereobasidion annosum, Hydnochaete olivacea, an old Laetiporus sulphureus, Lenzites betulina, Lycoperdon pyriforme, Mycena inclinata, Neofavolus alveolaris, Phaeolus schweinitzii, Phellinus gilvus, Pluteus petasatus, Poronidulus conchifer, Puccinia maria-wilsoniae on Claytonia, Stereum abietinum, Stereum cf. complicatum, Stereum hirsutum, Suillus weaverae, Trametes betulina, Trametes cubensis, Trametes versicolor, Trichaptum abietinum, Trichaptum biforme, and Xylobolus frustulatus. SLIME MOLDS: Fuligo septica, Lycogala epidendrum, and Physarum sp. Some photos of the fungi we found are in the iNaturalist “MASMC 2023 Fungi of Patuxent Research Refuge” project: (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/masmc-2023fungi-of-patuxent-research-refuge).

MASMC 2024 will be hosted by Rytas Vilgalys Lab at Duke University.