Mycological Society Distinctions

Distinguished Mycologist Awards: D. Jean Lodge and Roy E. Halling

The Distinguished Mycologist Award is one of the highest awards bestowed by the MSA, and it is designed to recognize individuals that have a truly distinguished career in the field of mycology in terms of either research or service.

Jean Lodge

Dr. D. Jean Lodge earned her BS degree in Botany at Kent State University, her MS in Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University, and her Ph.D. in Botany and Ecology at North Carolina State University in 1985. Distinguished in her early academic studies by her diverse thesis projects, which ranged in focus from measuring species distributions of insects in temperate streams to evaluating genetic variation and epidemiology in pathogenic fungi affecting crops in the southeastern US, Dr. Lodge established herself as a fungal ecologist through her doctoral studies of mycorrhizal fungi affiliated with eastern cottonwood. Complementing her northern experiences with engagement in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, Dr. Lodge soon stepped into the mycological spotlight as a remarkably integrative, innovative, and creative mycologist with uncommon knowledge of tropical forest systems. After several years of experience with the Center for Energy and Environment Research at the University of Puerto Rico (PR), she became a research scientist there in 1985, and since that time has developed a rich, diverse, and highly productive career with the USDA-Forest Service Center for Forest Mycology Research and Forest Products Laboratory in San Juan, PR. Recognized for her publications, mentorship, outreach, and impact by organizations such as the USDA, the Puerto Rican Mycological Society, the Institute of Tropical Forestry, and others, Dr. Lodge was named a Fellow of both the Mycological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2001. Throughout her professional life Dr. Lodge has had an exceptionally distinguished career at the forefront of fungal ecology, systematics, and tropical biology, with over 150 publications that together reflect her energy, creativity, engagement with the natural world, forward-thinking research, top-quality collaborations, and exceptional mentorship of junior scientists. She consistently brings together agencies and stakeholders, colleagues and students, and synergistic groups of peers through her many symposia and workshops throughout the Caribbean and the world at large. She has described over 100 fungal species new to science and eight new genera. Her work on documenting fungal biodiversity has resulted in databases that reach across disciplinary and national boundaries, greatly advancing the cause of mycology and role of mycologists in conservation, ecology, and policy-making on a global scale. Her knowledge of fungal hybridization, plant-fungal associations, and the interface of fungal ecology and global processes such as climate change will have lasting impacts on all aspects of mycology. These broad impacts complement her engagement in personally welcoming, training, and supporting young scientists and the efforts of mycologists as a whole. A tremendous naturalist, tropical ecologist, and molecular biologist, Dr. Lodge is an incredible force in fungal biology, and truly an outstanding mycologist.

Roy Halling

Born in Iowa, Dr. Roy Edward Halling began his mycological career at San Francisco State University, where he earned a Master's degree in 1976 studying boletes under the tutelage of Distinguished Mycologist Harry Thiers. After meeting his future bride, Harry’s daughter, Roy headed east to the University of Massachusetts, where he received a PhD in 1980 studying the northeastern representatives of the genus Collybia under the direction of Howard Bigelow. After receiving his doctorate, Roy was a postdoctoral associate at Harvard’s Farlow Herbarium for three years and then in 1983 began work at the New York Botanical Garden where he has been ever since, currently serving as Curator of Mycology. In addition, over the past 30+ years Roy has held adjunct professorships at the City University of New York, Columbia University and Fordham University where he has trained numerous PhD mycology students.

Dr. Halling is a world-renowned expert on the systematics of agarics and boletes, that is, the charismatic megafungi. He has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the world, making significant contributions to knowledge of fungal diversity in North America, Central and South America, Australia and Southeast Asia. Fieldwork does not come cheap nor happen in isolation. Roy has been well-supported with numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society totaling over $2.2 million. Some highlights include surveying the diversity of Macrofungi of Costa Rica, Monographic studies of Collybia from South America, contributing to the Basidiomycetes of the Greater Antilles, the Macrofungi of Fraser Island, Australia, and Boletes in Queensland, Australia. During his travels, he has mentored many young professional mycologists, parataxonomists and mushroom enthusiasts around the globe. He is a prolific scholar and his list of collaborators fills several pages. If you work on fleshy fungi you have probably co-published with Roy—he is incredibly gracious with his time and expertise. He is currently spearheading an international team of mycologists studying the global diversity and phylogeny of the Boletineae.

Dr. Halling has served the Mycological Society of America with dedication and distinction. He was our first Webmaster, bringing the MSA into the modern world. This was followed by Vice President, then President in 2008–2009. He has contributed extensively to Mycologia as Managing Editor, Index Editor, Associate Editor, Managing Editor of Mycologia Memoirs, and as a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee. Our society has benefited greatly from Roy's hard work, insightfulness, collegiality and international experience.

Dr. Roy Halling has has a positive impact on the professional lives of all who are currently studying the diversity and evolution of agarics and boletes. As stated by Distinguished Mycologist Tim Baroni "he is just simply one of the best scientists I know." Ask any mushroom systematist in the world about Roy, and they will expound on his significant contributions to mycology and mycologists, confirming that he is indeed a distinguished mycologist.

Constantine J. Alexopoulos Award Prize: Kabir G. Peay

Awarded annually to an outstanding mycologist early in their career. The nominees are evaluated primarily on the basis of quality, originality, and quantity of their published work.

Dr. Kabir G. Peay

Dr. Kabir G. Peay received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, M.E.Sc. from Yale University, and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. He was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and then at Stanford University, before joining the University of Minnesota in 2011. In 2012 he returned to Stanford University as an Assistant Professor. His publication and citation statistics are extremely impressive, indicative of his role as a pioneer in emerging approaches and concepts of fungal ecology. In particular, he has developed innovative techniques to evaluate spatial structure of fungal communities, elucidated fungal dispersal patterns and limitations, and investigated functional diversity of fungal communities in the soil. He has landmark publications in numerous high-profile research journals including Ecology, Ecology Letters, Molecular Ecology, New Phytologist, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (Also, we cannot fail to mention his coauthorship of Spongiforma squarepantsii, described in Mycologia.) His citation record is particularly impressive, highlighting the quality, rigor, and disciplinary- and interdisciplinary excellence of his work. Dr. Peay's findings indicate structure in fungal communities that, at larger geographical scales, strongly reflects limits to dispersal. His group's investigations have also found extensive functional redundancies among geographically distinct fungal communities, such that fungal consortia in soil exhibit similar metabolic functions in widely separated locations. These findings are highly relevant to conservation efforts, considering for example, the importance of many soil fungi as mycorrhizal symbionts. Dr. Peay has an exceptional ability to communicate his findings and their importance to the broad scientific community well beyond ecologists or mycologists alone. In the past year he published two very high profile reviews, one in Nature Reviews Microbiology and the other in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. To date he has ably advised seven Ph.D. students and three postdocs. He is an Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), and serves on editorial boards of Fungal Ecology and FEMS Microbiology Ecology. He is highly sought after as a speaker at institutions and meetings worldwide, including ESA and Gordon conferences. In addition to his considerable research accomplishments, he is also recognized for his excellent mentoring and teaching. Thus, through teaching and research he brings mycology to the forefront of scientific and public interest in our living planet.

The Gordon and Tina Wasson Award: Gary Lincoff

The Gordon and Tina Wasson Award is designed to recognize people with non-traditional academic backgrounds who have made outstanding contributions to the field of mycology, or who have widely transmitted significant scientific or aesthetic knowledge about fungi to the general public. Nominees for the award are judged on the basis of the impact and quality of their contributions and on their sustained commitment to the field of mycology. 

If you haven’t had the chance to walk through the world with Gary Lincoff, reading his nomination letters will leave you jealous. According to these letters he’s a generator of “incessant, hilarous mycospeak, a guru of the myco-masses”, someone who can “identify a mushroom, give a discourse on its scientific name, and dance to tribal drums while dressed as the Mad Hatter all in the space of five minutes”. Sure, there are serious accolades as well. To appreciate Gary’s impact on mycology one writer suggests “the six books that he has written or co-written and the four books that he has edited are a good place to start…”. Many of the letters mention his field guide “The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms”. Gary is clearly a fantastically gifted communicator, a passionate advocate for biodiversity and an unstoppable guide to all things fungal. Still, if I had my choice between his book and a day with the man who “throws out Latin like.. a priest on Sunday”, I know what I’d choose. Gary, congratulations. Thank you for bringing your curiosity and creativity to our world.

Mycological Society Distinctions Committee: Christopher Schardl, Chair; Charles Bacon; Dennis Desjardin; Betsy Arnold; Anne Pringle; Francois Lutzoni, ex officio, Past Chair; Georgiana May, ex officio, President

MSA Award Coordinator: Andrea Porras-Alfaro, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University,