- Open Access
Awards and Personalia
IMA Fungus volume 8, pagesA16–A24(2017)
Call for nominations for IMA Fellows 2018
IMA Fellows are mycologists who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of mycology at an international level, through service to the IMA, its Regional Committees, organization of international meetings or initiatives, or otherwise, as the Award Committees deems appropriate.
The first nine IMA Fellows were elected at IMC10 in Bangkok (see IMA Fungus 5: (46), 2014), and nominations are now solicited. These may be made by individual mycologists or Regional Mycological Organizations (RMOs). Those from individuals should be sent to IMA Past-President Meredith M Blackwell (email@example.com) who has been appointed by the IMA President to Chair the Awards Committee, while those from RMOs should be submitted to the IMA President, Keith Seifert (firstname.lastname@example.org). In both cases nominations should arrive by 1 December 2017.
Nominations should include: (1) a letter of nomination and one supporting letter that addresses the stated criteria for nomination; (2) a curriculum vitae of the nominee; and (3) if available reference to web sites or additional material appropriate to support the nomination. Please incorporate all materials into a single document.
The protocols relating to the appointment of IMA Fellows have been previously published (IMA Fungus 4: (40), 2013) but are presented here for convenience with key dates updated.
Protocols for Nomination and Selection
Eligibility for selection. To be eligible for nomination as IMA Fellow, a member of the IMA must, at the time of the International Mycological Congress where the award is to be made, have completed at least 11 years of service after the award of a PhD degree. [I.e. for IMC11 in 2018, a nominee must have received a PhD before 2007.]
Numbers. As many as 12 IMA Fellows may be selected for induction at each IMC, one from each IMA Regional Mycological Member Organization, and as many as six from the IMA in general.
Committees for Nomination and Selection
General IMA Fellows Award Committee. The IMA President shall appoint senior and distinguished mycologists to an IMA Fellows Committee consisting of at least two members and a chairperson.
IMA RMMO IMA Fellows Committees. Each IMA Regional Member Mycological Organization shall appoint senior and distinguished mycologists to an IMA RMMO Fellows Committee consisting of at least two members and a chairperson.
Responsibilities of the IMA Fellows Committees
Timing of events. The Committees shall arrange for a call for nominations to be published in IMA Fungus in June of the year preceding the IMC with a deadline for receipt of nominations by December of that year [i.e. 1 December 2017]. The committees will vote to select the fellow(s) and report the results to the IMA President by February of the year of the IMC so that the new IMA Fellows can be notified in time to attend that year’s IMC.
Nomination of candidates. The nominator shall submit, by 1 December of the year before the IMC [i.e. 1 December 2017], to the IMC Fellows Committee, a letter of nomination that addresses the criteria for selection, a current curriculum vitae for the candidate that contains information relating to the criteria for selection, and two supporting letters from mycologists familiar with the candidate. The IMC Fellows Committee shall distribute the nominations to the appropriate RMMO Fellows Committees by 5 December of the year before the ICM [i.e. 5 December 2017].
Selection of candidates. Each IMA RMMO Fellows Committee shall, by 1 February of the year of the IMC [i.e. 1 February 2018], select one fellow from among their pool of nominees and forward to the IMA Fellows Committee the nomination material for all of the nominees for ratification of their choice by the IMA Fellows Committee. The IMA Fellows Committee shall select up to six fellows from their pool of nominees and report all selected Fellows to the IMA President before March 1st of the year of the IMC.
Induction of IMA Fellows
The IMA Fellows shall be inducted by the President of the IMA at the International Mycological Congress.
IMA Young Mycologist Awards 2018
To honour the accomplishments of those who are the future of our field, the IMA Executive Committee initiated IMA Young Mycologist Awards in 2010. Six awards were made for IMC9, and six for IMC10 (see IMA Fungus 5: (47–48), 2014). The next Young Mycologist Awards are to be made at IMC11 in 2018, and aim to promote mycology by helping to advance young mycologists. The Awards for IMC11 will be presented by the President of the IMA at the Closing Ceremony of the Congress, and be accompanied by a certificate. The recipients will have the registration fee for the IMC waived.
The protocols relating to the appointment of IMA Fellows have been previously published (IMA Fungus 2: (18)–(19), 2010) but are reproduced here for convenience with key dates updated.
The IMA established six IMA Young Mycologist Awards to mark outstanding research accomplishment by young mycologists from each of the six IMA Regional Mycological Organizations (RMOs).
Ethel Mary Doidge Medal — African Regional Mycological Member Organization
Keisuke Tubaki Medal — Asian Regional Mycological Member Organization
Daniel McAlpine Medal — Australasian Regional Mycological Member Organization
Elias Magnus Fries Medal — European Regional Mycological Member Organization
Carlos Luis Spegazzini Medal — Latin American Regional Mycological Member Organization
Arthur Henry Reginald Buller Medal — North American Regional Mycological Member Organization
To be eligible to be nominated for an IMA Young Mycologist Award, a member of the IMA must, at the time of the next International Mycological Congress, be within ten years of his or her PhD degree i.e. for IMC11 in 2018, a nominee must have received his or her PhD degree no earlier than 2008.
Establishment of Award Regional Committees
The President of each IMA Regional Mycological Member Organization is asked to establish an IMA Young Mycologist Award Regional Committee consisting of at least two members (although the appointment of more members to represent the diversity of mycology in the region is encouraged) and a chair, who will serve from one International Mycological Congress to the next. To ensure a broad pool of nominees, nine months prior to the next International Mycological Congress, this committee will notify the members of the IMA Regional Mycological Member Organization of the award, solicit nominations and vote to select a candidate. To ensure a breadth of experience on the IMA Young Mycologist Award Regional Committee, the chair and members of this committee should be senior mycologists with distinguished records and should represent the diversity of Mycological Member Organizations and Sustaining Mycological Member Organizations from the region. The chair will vote only in the event of a tie vote by the other members.
Responsibilities of the Award Regional Committees
Nine months prior to the next International Mycological Congress and three months prior to the deadline for receiving nominations, members of each IMA Regional Mycological Member Organization shall be notified of the call for nominations for the relevant IMA Young Mycologist Award through the IMA website and the IMA Regional Mycological Member Organization website and through emails sent to delegates from the region who attended the preceding International Mycological Congress.
Nomination of candidates for each IMA Young Mycologist Award shall consist of a letter of nomination, two letters of support from mycologists familiar with the candidate, and a current curriculum vitae of the candidate. Candidates are expected to have contributed appreciably to mycology and they should have achieved international recognition based on several criteria: (a) The quality, innovation, thoroughness, and impact on science of their published research, with consideration given to the contribution of the nominee to multi-authored publications. (b) Service as editors of journals or as officers of societies. (c) Membership on national or international policy committees. (d) Invitations to present research at national or international meetings.
The committee will forward the nomination material for each nominee and the committee’s choice for the award to the IMA Young Mycologist Awards Committee convened by the IMA President no more than one month following the deadline for nominations and no less than five months prior to the next IMC. The IMA Young Mycologist Awards Committee is charged with ratifying the choices made by the IMA Young Mycologist Award Regional Committees.
The timeline for the IMA Young Mycologist Awards for IMC 2018 can be summarized as follows. The notification to the RMOs of the call for nominations shall be nine months prior to the IMC [i.e. 15 October 2017], the deadline for receipt of nominations by the IMA Young Mycologist Award Regional Committees shall be six months prior to the IMC [15 January 2018], and the receipt of the IMA Young Mycologist Award Regional Committee’s choice by the IMA Young Mycologist Awards Committee shall be five months prior to the IMC [15 February 2018]. In this way, recipients can be notified of their award at least four months prior to the IMC to encourage their attendance at the IMC.
Michael Corlett — Asco specialist turns 80
IMA Fungus extends warm congratulations to Michael (‘Mike’) Corlett in celebration of his 80th birthday on 28 April 2017. Mike is an ascomycete specialist who spent his career with Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) as part of the mycology group now at the Ottawa Research and Development Centre. Mike was a student of John F. Morgan-Jones at the University of Toronto, much of whose research concerned ascomycete ontogeny. This tradition was continued by Mike, whose early studies focused on the development and ultrastructure of plant pathogenic fungi, and his work with AAFC progressed to the taxonomy of plant pathogenic Pleosporales and other bitunicates. His compilation of published names in Mycosphaerella (Mycologia Memoirs 18, 1991) was a milestone for researchers on this genus. Mike was an associate editor for the Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology and responsible for the series Fungi Canadenses. In the last few years of his career, Mike turned his attention to Alternaria, work that has become increasingly relevant as regulatory attention turns to mycotoxins produced by these moulds. Since his retirement in 1999, Mike has been a volunteer in the National Mycological Herbarium (DAOM), assisting with the digitization of data for legacy specimens, especially of hyphomycetes.
Egon Horak — Macromycete doyen
Our best compliments on your 80th birthday. We are pleased to see you still in the best of health and creative powers, and to be able to share your interest in the latest findings of molecular taxonomy —helped by your steady kindness and especially your profound knowledge of mushroom morphology to find links with classical taxonomy.
Egon is one of the last cosmopolitan taxonomists with a true global view of agarics, based on his own observations and personal collections. Innumerable field trips have brought him to almost all the exciting corners of our planet where new species could be expected. Once, he travelled together with Rolf Singer (1906–1994) and Meinhard Moser (1924–2002) to South America, and later with local mycologists many times to South-East Asia and North America. Among all the many places with a little known agaric funga, one country plays a very special role for him: New Zealand. Fascinated, Egonhas explored all parts of this country and described many new species. His special interest in the identification and description of New Zealand’s fungi is still vividly evident in an extending list of major publications.
Egon started his career as a student of Moser in Innsbruck, Austria. One of his first research projects concerned alpine macrofungi in a glacier forefield. This special interest in alpine agarics has been maintained throughout the years. Only recently he was involved in a study aiming to clarify the taxonomy of some alpine Inocybe species as part of a transatlantic co-operation.
The position as a curator of the fungal collections at ETH in Zürich, which he held for most of his active tenure has been the perfect base for his aim to describe the whole range of species diversity in agarics. As a professor he has guided several students who focussed mostly on ecological aspects of macromycetes. And, most importantly, he gave them all the freedom they required to develop their own academic ideas.
Egon is well-known for his precise line drawings of morphological details and his search and scrutiny of type specimen in order to clarify the taxonomy. We would like to see all these relevant drawings in a large reference book.
Jack Rogers — Mr Xylariaceae turning 80
Jack David Rogers retired in January 2013 from Washington State University, Pullman, after 50 distinguished years on the WSU Faculty. He received his BS from Davis & Elkins College, West Virginia, and his MF from Duke University, North Carolina. He then moved to the University of Wisconsin where he was awarded a PhD for research on Hypoxylon pruinatum (later Entoleuca mammata), a major forest pathogen of quaking aspen in the Great Lakes States, under the supervision of John Berbee. This triggered a keen interest, and later a passion, for Xylariaceae. On his appointment as Assistant Professor at the WSU faculty in 1963, with positions in the Departments of Plant Pathology and Forestry and Range Management, he continued with his studies of Xylariaceae, at first mainly on chromosomes in Hypoxylon and later researching all aspects of the family. In his remarkable and distinguished career, Jack, together with a number of his many postgraduate students, established WSU as the world centre for studies on Xylariaceae. He was also largely responsible for developing the Mycological Herbarium at WSU making it a renowned world-class facility for educational and research purposes.
His mycological contributions and teaching skills have been recognized by numerous awards and honours over the years from WSU, the Mycological Society of America, and the British Mycological Society. Jack was President of the MSA in 1977 and his Presidential Address ‘The Xylariaceae: systematic, biological and evolutionary aspects’ delivered at Tampa in 1977 during IMC2 demonstrated his clear thoughts and knowledge of the family and is a must-read for anyone with an interest in these fungi. If Julian Miller were alive today he would have been delighted and impressed with ‘A revision of the genus Hypoxylon’ by Yu-Ming Ju and Jack D. Rogers. Jack Yu-Ming and San Martin have now revised 14 genera of the family and together with other former students and colleagues published numerous papers on all aspects of Xylariaceae.
I am privileged to have known Jack since the mid-1970s, and to have visited him and his family in Pullman on a number of occasions and to have received them at our home in North Wales. During his trips we visited the type locality for Nemania chestersii in Anglesey, collected Hypoxylon rutilum in Llanbedr and Euepixylon udum by Aber Falls, Gwynedd; all rare species.. We have enjoyed many hours discussing various aspects of Xylariaceae especially host specificity, habitat preferences, and biogeography. Considering Pullman is hardly tropical, Jack has a broad and detailed knowledge of the tropical species owing to his impressive global network of correspondents, collaborators and former students. He presented the Benefactors’ Lecture of the British Mycological Society at the Millenium Meeting of the Society at Liverpool John Moores University in April 2000 on ‘Thoughts and musings on the Xylariaceae’. This was not just an inspiring lecture, but provided a wonderful opportunity for the postgraduate mycology students as Jack gave generously of his time to discuss their work with them and to offer good expert advice.
Jack has a wonderful sense of humour and, together with his wife Belle, they have endeared themselves to all who know them. He enjoyed hunting and fishing whenever he had the opportunity and the 17 lb Steelhead caught on the Clearwater River, Idaho in November 1982 (shown here) is true testimony to his success. The respect and esteem for Jack Rogers is deservingly demonstrated by his promotion to Regents Professor with the Eminent Faculty award, the highest honour a faculty member could receive at WSU.
Mycologists worldwide thank you for your invaluable contributions and we all wish you a very happy 80th birthday this 3 September 2017.
Martha A. Christensen (1932–2017)
Martha Christensen, a great mycological ecologist, died on 19 March 2017, at the age of 85. She is survived by her brother, a nephew and two nieces, three grandnieces, and one grandnephew. Martha’s major contributions to science has been in two areas of mycological research, fungal ecology, especially concerning forest and grassland soils, and taxonomy, of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium as focus points, but being an ecologist, she also enjoyed and worked with many other genera. She also established a very important and large collection of soil-borne fungi, emphasizing the importance of citing typical exemplars in her publications and maintaining them in a freeze-dried state for other researchers to explore. Even though an ecologist by heart, she realized how important it was to be able to give correct species names to all the microfungi she found, and so she devoted much time to identification, fungal systematics, and the description of new species from soil. On a personal level, she was a very warm outgoing person and she enthusiastically repeated cite-worthy expressions from anyone talking with her, and always had a lot of wise sentences from her own mouth or citations from people she admired. She had many friends, and either went “fungus hunting” or bird-watching, but one of her great additional interests was in classical music.
Martha’s PhD thesis from the University of Wisconsin was published in 1960 (Christensen 1960) and followed by an excellent publication in ecology (Christensen 1969). The fungi isolated were kept in her WSF (Wisconsin Soil Fungi) collection. She soon moved to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and stayed there for most of her career becoming a professor, latterly emerita. She loved all the very interesting, beautiful and extremely different habitats in Wyoming (the Rocky Mountain Fungi (RMF) collection), and in addition she loved to travel, and sampled soil microfungi, for example in India, Namibia, Fair Isle (Scotland) and many other places (the World Tour (WT) Collection). She donated all these collections to the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (formerly Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, CBS), as it was very important for her that other ecologists and taxonomists could compare their cultures to her large collection of soil fungi. A very important part of Martha’s career was the sabbatical with Kenneth B. Raper (1908–1987) in Wisconsin. When Raper was driving to the airport to meet her, Martha was quietly asking about Emericella, and Raper said in a very loud voice “EMERICELLA, here we are using Aspergillus”. Indeed, in the description of Aspergillus spectabilis (Chistensen et al. 1978), the taxon was headed by this sentence: “Aspergillus spectabilis Christensen & Raper, sp. nov. status perfectus sit judicatus Emericella spectabilis Christensen, sp. nov. Raper simply did not want to describe any Emericella. Indeed, in the monograph on Aspergillus (Raper & Fennell 1965) he wrote in hand as part ofa dedication to Martha: “Up with Aspergillus, down with Neosartorya”. So even though Martha applied the correct nomenclature at the time, she was happy to learn that in the one fungus one name system from 2011 onwards both Emericella and Neosartorya are now back in Aspergillus, commenting “It would have pleased Dr Raper”.
Martha made many important contributions to especially Aspergillus and Penicillium taxonomy, and was very enthusiastic whenever an ecologically relevant taxonomic character was used. She also started discussions in technocoenosis, or organisms in domesticated landscapes.
Martha was President of the Mycological Society of America in 1988, where she wrote a very fine presidential address (Christensen 1989; cited 123 times as of March 2017), and she received, among other prizes, the prestigious Johanna Westerdijk Award from CBS in 2013. Three species have been named in her honour: Penicillium christenseniae, P. marthae-christenseniae and Aspergillus christenseniae.
Martha was lucky to have several very fine collaborators, including Ken Raper, Jack S. States and Dorothy E. Tuthill, and she also liked to discuss fungal ecology with her friends Juliet Frankland, and Sally Gochenaur. She was active also when she went back to the University of Wisconsin, and established new friendships there. She will be missed by mycologists, because of her great knowledge, intense interest in fungi and their ecology, and warm approach to other people.
K. Walter Gams (1934–2017)
With great sadness, we inform readers of IMA Fungus of the passing of Walter Gams, a frequent contributor to these pages and mentor and colleague to many mycologists around the world. A polymath in the true sense of the word, Walter had expert knowledge in many fungal groups, was equally conversant with classical botany, fluent in many languages (for several generations of mycologists, he was the actual author of many of the Latin diagnoses accompanying new taxa), and widely respected for his insight into nomenclature. Born in Austria on 9 August 1934, Walter spent his early academic years with Klaus Domsch, with whom he wrote his first book Fungi in Agricultural Soils 1957, and then in 1980 the classic Compendium of Soil Fungi. Most of his career was spent at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures in Baarn (now the Westerdijk Institute in Utrecht), where he specialized in hyphomycetes and zygomycetes, writing his famous book on Acremonium in 1971, and culminating in his collaboration with Seifert, Morgan-Jones and Kendrick on The Genera of Hyphomycetes published in 2011 after more than 20 years of effort. Walter had many students, and endowed a non-profit foundation in Germany to support “Research in mycological taxonomy and ecology”, which provided financial support for many young mycologists to attend conferences, pay page charges, or participate in collecting trips. Walter travelled and taught widely and had friends all over the world, especially in Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Iran, Italy, and Japan. Hundreds of guests visited his home in Baarn, hosted by his wife Sophia and his two daughters Hede and Hilde. Following his retirement, he spent part of each year north-west of Rome in an apartment that was part of the hill top castle of Bomarzo, Italy, where he passed away on 9 April 2017.
[Further information on Walter and his achievements can be found in IMA Fungus 3(1): (26) (2012) and 5(1): (13) (2014).]
Jack R. Laundon (1934 – 2016)
Lichenologist Jack Rodney Laundon was born at Kettering, Northamptonshire, UK, on 28 July 1934. He developed an interest in lichens while at school, and without any university training obtained a position at what is now The Natural History Museum London in 1952, remaining there until his retirement in 1990. He was especially fascinated by sterile crustose lichens, producing keys to those on the ground and bark, and produced detailed treatments of Chrysothrix, Leproloma, and Lepraria. A life member of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT), Jack endeavoured to apply the then International Code of Botanical Nomenclature strictly, with major papers on Withering’s neglected lichen names in 1984 and those described by James E. Smith, founder of the Linnean Society of London. Familiar names were often changed in a time species name conservation was not permitted; something not welcome with replaced names coming to be referred to as having been ‘jacked’. He was a major contributor to The Lichen Flora of Great Britain and Ireland (Natural History Museum, 1992), and with his wife translated the lichen text of H. Martin Jahns’ Collins Guide to the Ferns Mosses and Lichens of Britain and North and Central Europe (1983). He also prepared a popular well-illustrated book Lichens (Shire Natural History, 1986).
He was a founder member of the British Lichen Society, editing its’ Bulletin from 1963–79, serving as Secretary from 1964–84, and becoming President for 1984–85.
Jack was not, however, only a taxonomist and will also be remembered for his studies on lichen sociology and changes over time in response to the effects of sulphur dioxide air pollution. In 1956 he started a meticulous survey of London’s lichens, which resulted in detailed papers in 1967 and 1970 documenting species loss; the distributions of several species correlated with mean sulphur dioxide isopleths. Further, his studies in churchyards led to the recognition of relict lichen communities; species persisting on older memorials but unable to colonize newer ones. After sulphur dioxide levels fell markedly in the city, species started to return, and amongst his last publications was one in 2012 on lichens invading the city.
Sadly, Jack was made redundant from the Museum during a restructuring when just 56 years old, but fortunately was able to continue to work from home and to use the libraries at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He moved back to his home town of Kettering following the death of his wife in 2003, and died there following a long illness on 31 December 2016.
[An obituary is in press in the Lichenologist and expected to appear later this year.]
Vadim A. Mel’nik (1937–2017)
On 10 April 2017, Vadim Aleksandrovich Mel’nik died in hospital about two months after a fall in the street. He lived a very busy life, fully devoted to mycology, rich in events and scientific discoveries, and he became one of the most authoritative world experts in the taxonomy of conidial fungi. Vadim, whose ancestors included the Baltic German von Lange’s, was born on 16 March 1937 in Daugavpils (Latvia). He graduated from the Leningrad Forestry Academy in 1960 and then worked as a forestry engineer near Leningrad before joining the Komarov Botanical Institute in St Petersburg (then Leningrad) in 1962. He remained connected with the Institute for the rest of his life, progressing from PhD student to leading researcher. His ‘candidate dissertation’ of 1966 concerned the “Parasitic imperfect fungi of the forests of the Leningrad region”, and his doctoral thesis of 1986 concerned the “Coelomycetes of the USSR”. He investigated conidial fungi in many regions of Russia from the north-west European sector to the Far East, giving special attention to protected areas and the republics of the former USSR. In addition he travelled widely for discussions and fieldwork, taking in Austria (2000, 2002), Turkey (2001), South Africa (2002), Sweden (2003), Korea (2003, 2004), China (2004, 2005), and Lithuania (2004–06).
The samples he collected, also during short-term visits to the UK, Germany, Latvia, and Canada, and material from other mycologists which he identified are deposited in the LE-Fungi collection; amongst these are those of A. E. Kovalenko (countries of the Pacific basin), M. A. Bondartseva (Cuba), Yu. K. Novozhilov (Costa Rica and Puerto Rico), A. V. Alexandrova and E. S. Popov (Vietnam), and S. Stephenson (Mexico and New Zealand). Serving as curator of the fungal collections for 15 years, Vadim was active in the publication of Mycotheca Petropolitana, and he also contributed specimens to several exsiccatae including Microfungi exsiccati (Munich), Mycotheca Gracensis (Graz), and Fungi selecti exsiccati (Halle, Germany). Other specimens of his are deposited in CBS (The Netherlands), K(M)-IMI (UK), BILAS (Lithuania), and MSK (Belarus).
He was active in Russian and international mycological organizations and events, acquiring friends and making scientific contacts in many countries. In 1994 he was able to attend IMC5 in Vancouver, where he was elected to the Executive Committee of the IMA; in 2002 the XL Congress of the Society of Phytopathologists of South Africa (Dikholo, Republic of South Africa); and in 2007 the XV Congress of European Mycologists. His scientific work resulted in more than 220 publications, including “The determination of fungi of the genus Ascochyta Lib.” (1977; translated into English in 2000), “Imperfect fungi on trees and shrubs” (1992), a summary of the cercosporoid fungi of Russia and neighboring countries (1997), and the “Micromycetes” volume of the “Fungi of the Nizhne-Svirsky Reserve” (1996). He also contributed to the ongoing “Handbook of Fungi of Russia”, with accounts of numerous rare and little-known genera of coelomycetes (1997) and dark-coloured hyphomycetes (2000). He also published in foreign journals in co-authorship with key world mycologists including Brian C. Sutton, T. R. Nag Raj, Uwe Braun, David W. Minter, Kevin D. Hyde, Ovidiu Constantinescu, Rafael Castañeda, and Pedro W. Crous. In total, he described three new genera, and over 70 new species, as well as making numerous new combinations.
Vadim also served as editor of more than eight mycological books, and from the first issue of Micologia y Fitopatologia in 1967 he worked closely with the journal for the last 50 years, reviewing numerous submitted manuscripts. Further, at various times he was a member of the editorial boards of several international mycological journals. His endless devotion to science was widely appreciated by the scientific community, he was one of the first to be awarded the A. A. Yachevsky Medal in 2012, and had several genera and species named in his honour.
He found the aesthetic pleasure of a true scientist, observing, and recording with the help of a microscope and his remarkable drawings the morphological forms of conidial fungi. When he discovered something new and interesting, the whole laboratory and colleagues in other institutions were immediately aware of this. He shared with us not only his knowledge and experience, but also his energy, enthusiasm, and love of specimens. In recent years, when it became difficult for him to go on expeditions himself, he concentrated on material collected by colleagues in Vietnam, usually issuing detailed instructions on what substrates and where to look, how best to select them, and how to transport them. He waited with great impatience for expeditions to Vietnam to return with fresh samples of substrates (wood, dry leaves and fruits), enthusiastically and joyfully analyzing them.
Vadim generously shared with us, and many other Russian students and researchers, not only his knowledge and experience, but also his energy, enthusiasm, and great love for his fungi. He will be sorely missed.
Eliyathamby Punithalingam (1935–2016)
Born in Sri Lanka, ‘Puni’ (as he was fondly known by his colleagues), studied at Jaffna College in Sri Lanka from which he secured a place to read for a PhD at the Imperial College University of London Field Station at Silwood Park, Ascot. He studied the Septoria diseases of chrysanthemum there from 1961–65 under the supervision of Ronald K. S. Wood and Brian E. Wheeler. In 1965 he joined the then Commonwealth Mycological Institute at Kew as an Assistant Mycologist, with a particular responsibility for the identification of coelomycetes that could be cultured, and which had been sent to the Institute for an opinion from mycologists and plant pathologists around the world.
He was a meticulous researcher and excellent microscopist, and pioneered the use of Giemsa stain not only to visualize fungal nuclei and even chromosomes, but delicate conidial appendages that had often been overlooked or misinterpreted by others. Amongst some 190 publications, the most familiar are his monograph of plant diseases attributed to Botryodiplodia theobromae (J. Cramer, 1980), and his Mycological Papers providing critical accounts of Ascochyta species on grasses (1979) and monocots, cryptogams and gymnosperms (1988). A superb illustrator, Puni also made many contributions to the Institute’s loose-leaf Descriptions of Fungi and collaborated with others in helping them describe new coleomycetous fungi. He also had an important role in checking identification reports for the whole Institute; no small task when around 10 000 identifications were made each year and all had to be prepared on manual typewriters.
Following his retirement in 1995 from the now International Mycologicial Institute, which had re-located from Kew to Egham in 1993, Puni was appointed as a Research Associate in the Mycology Section of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew — a situation that enabled him to continue his research and maintain contacts with other mycologists. With a strong attachment to the Institute and its staff, he also instigated an annual reunion of past and present staff at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, the next being on 14 June 2017. He died in St George’s Hospital in London on 23 December 2016 after suddenly being taken ill, and was repatriated by his family to Sri Lanka for a traditional Hindu funeral. Always conscious of the troubles and violence in his home country, he made provision in his will to establish a library in his home town.
I feel privileged to have been able to learn from Puni and to have had the opportunity to collaborate with him, and will always be grateful for the guidance and encouragement he gave me in my early years at the Institute after I joined it in 1969.
Anjali Roy (1930–2017)
On 22 January 2017, we lost Anjali Roy, a mycologist from India. Her 86 years was full of accomplishments, with contributions to the growth of science, especially the domain of her specialization, mycological studies.
Born in Rajsahi, Bangladesh in pre-independent India, she matriculated from Rajsahi Girls School in 1945. In an era when not many girls proceeded to higher education, she went on to graduate from Presidency College, Calcutta, with an honours degree in Botany. She endured the turmoil and transition from a colonial country to an independent nation, to complete her postgraduate studies in 1952 from Ballygunge Science College, University of Calcutta, where her doctorate was guided by S. N. Banerjee. Her zeal for study continued, leading her to the award of the degree of DSc. Her level of commitment as a young female in pursuing and sustaining a higher education trajectory, established her as an icon, even for the contemporary generations.
Her search for knowledge led her to a post-doctorate position in Canada under the guidance of Mildred K. Nobles (1902–1993) and work on the genus Coriolellus. She developed a particular interest in wood-rotting polypores, and dedicated herself to their taxonomic study based on morphology, anatomy, type of rots, culture characteristics, sexuality, and responses to chemical tests. Later, biochemical aspects attracted her attention, working with her twin sister Arati Das, a scientist at the Bose Institute in Calcutta.
She went on to contribute to several emerging sectors of mycology, including as medical mycologist in the Department of Medical Mycology, School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta. Her keenness to disseminate knowledge amongst the science community and inspire youngsters was evident in her publications, teaching, and academic responsibilities, including publishing a book for degree students with her sister. She was appointed lecturer at the University of Burdwan, West Bengal, in 1974, and in 1979 joined Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, also in West Bengal, working there until her retirement in 1995. She mentored 10 PhD students, who benefitted from her international exposure and work experience in some of the finest laboratories of her times, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and the Academy of Sciences in Tartu.
Amongst her approximately 150 research publications, the Polyporaceae of India issued in 1996, has been an immense contribution to the field. This was co-authored with her student A. B. De, who named the polypore genus Royoporus in her honour. She inaugurated and self-funded a database of aphyllophorales fungi from India, the Indian Aphyllofungal Database (IAD), which was launched on www.fungifromindia.com in 2012. Her work earned her the appreciation and goodwill from the Indian as well as the international community of polypore scholars, and she interacted and was encouraged throughout her life-time by leading specialists of the day, including Erast Parmasto, Jose Wright, Leif Ryvarden, Robert Gilbertson, Karl-Henrik Larsen, Jim Ginns, and many more.
In a period when interest in classical mycology is losing its sheen in many countries, Roy’s journey of academic explorations is a gentle reminder to invest in systematic explorations of the rich fungal biota that surrounds us. For those who have known her, she will always be an inspiring figure, while for those who have not come into direct contact, her works will leave indelible impressions of appreciation and deep respect.
Hubertus A. van der Aa (1935–2017)
In IMA Fungus 6(2): (53)–(54) (2015) we paid tribute to ‘Huub’ on the event of his eightieth birthday, and now we are sad to report that he passed away on 7 May 2017.
An influential coelomycete expert and gifted teacher, Hubertus Antonius van der Aa was born on 5 July 1935 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. In 1965 he was appointed as mycologist at the then Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) in Baarn, to become an expert in coelomycetes. Josef Adolf von Arx (1922–1988), who had been appointed as the Director of the CBS shortly before, stimulated Huub’s interest in plant pathogenic fungi. Soon Huub began his taxonomic studies of Phyllosticta, a waste-basket genus for pycnidial fungi in leaf-spots with simple hyaline conidia. In 1973 he published his thesis and first monograph of the genus Phyllosticta (van der Aa 1973). Applying his new generic concept, Huub continued to revise thousands of type specimens. He published the Revision of the species described in Phyllosticta, together with his Bulgarian colleague and friend Simeon Vanev in 2002. Huub has also been recognized for his major contributions on Phoma, in collaboration with Gerhard Boerema and co-workers of the Plant Protection Service in Wageningen. He (co-)published numerous papers on Phoma, and also contributed to the Phoma Identification Manual: differentiation of specific and infra-specific taxa in culture (Boerema et al. 2003).
Many of us who followed the CBS Course of Mycology in Baarn will remember Huub, who led this annual course for many years with great passion. He had that special gift as a teacher, able to stimulate the interest for fungi in young students, impressing them with his broad knowledge of fungal taxonomy and ecology.
Besides his professional focus, Huub took an interest in many subjects, like teratology of basidiomes and plant galls inflicted by fungi and insects. Huub was also a gifted writer and loved (old) books. He served as Treasurer of the IMA from 1983 until 1990, and received a royal decoration in 2014 for his contributions to the Baarn community and many years of service to the Dutch Mycological Society (NMV), of which he was an Honorary Member.
Larissa N. Vassilyeva (1950–2017)
With great sadness we note the passing of Russian mycologist Larissa N. Vassiljeva, an amazing collector and specialist in pyrenomycetes, on 23 February 2017. Larissa was born in Kursk in western Russia on 15 February 1950. From 1967–72 she was a student specializing in mycology at Leningrad State University. In Soviet times students were placed on a job after graduation and they could choose where they would like to have their future position. Larissa chose the Russian Far East because that region was especially interesting for mycological investigations. From August 1972 she worked in the Institute of Biology and Soil Science in Vladivostok, Siberia as a scientific researcher, and since 2002 as a principal researcher.
For about ten years she studied the pyrenomycetes and loculoascomycetes of the Magadan Region, Kamchatka and Chukotka, publishing the results of these investigation in her first book Pyrenomycetes and Loculoascomycetes of the North of Russian Far-East (Vassilyeva 1987). For this work and others she received the degree of Doktor nauk (DSc) in 1992. For three years Larissa lectured on the “Theory of Evolution” at the Far Eastern State University, now regarded as the Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok. However, she decided that studying fungi was more interesting than teaching about them. Larissa had a single post-graduate student, Hai-Xia Ma, now at the Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology in Haikou, China. Some of her major publications are listed below.
She loved to collect fungi, wandering through the woods humming softly to herself, specializing in minute ascomycetes perhaps partly because she was short-sighted allowing her to see clearly the small black dots of pyrenomycetes about 500 µm diam scattered along a dead branch. She would pick up a likely substrate, pull off her thick-lensed glasses and examine the stick without a hand-lens because, basically, she had a “built-in” hand-lens for her eyes. In addition she had a sense of the biology of these fungi, and thus knew where to look for them. She was fearless in her ability to endure hot and cold weather in search of her beloved pyrenomycetes. While working in Beltsville, Maryland, during very hot humid summers, she would asked to be driven to the forest to collect and then would walk the five or so miles back to the laboratory.
She served as an officer in the International Mycological Association’s Committee for Asia (1995–2002), and was a member of the Mycological Society of Japan (since 1995), the Mycological Society of America (since 1997), and Russian Academy of Sciences.
We will miss the many interesting and unusual microfungal specimens that she willingly shared with others, and her sometimes unconventional and thought-provoking ideas about relationships among these fungi.
Christensen M (1960) The Soil Microfungi of Conifer-hardwood Forests in Wisconsin. PhD thesis. University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Christensen M (1969) Soil microfungi of dry to mesic conifer-hardwood forests in northern Wisconsin. Ecology 50: 9–27.
Christensen M (1989) A view of fungal ecology. Mycologia 81: 1–19.
Christensen M, Raper KB, States JS (1978) Two new Aspergillus nidulans group members from Wyoming soils. Mycologia 70: 332–342.
Raper KB, Fennell DL (1965) The Genus Aspergillus. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
Aa HA van der (1973) Studies in Phyllosticta I. Studies in Mycology 5: 1–110.
Aa HA van der, Vanev S (2002) A Revision of the Species described in Phyllosticta. Utrecht: Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures.
Boerema GH, de Gruyter J, Noordeloos ME, Hamers MEC (2003) Phoma Identification Manual: differentiation of specific and infra-specific taxa in culture. Wallingford: CABI Publishing.
Castlebury LA, AY Rossman, WJ Jaklitsch, LN Vassilyeva (2002) A preliminary overview of the Diaporthales based on large subunit nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences. Mycologia 94: 1017–1031.
Vassilyeva LN (1973) Die Blatterpilze und Rohrlinge (Agaricales) von Primorsky Region. Leningrad: Nauka.
Vassilyeva LN (1987) [Pyrenomycetae and Loculoascomycetae in Soviet Far East.] Leningrad: Nauka.
Vassilyeva LN (1988) A new treatment of the family Valsaceae. Systema Ascomycetum 7: 13–21.
Vassilyeva LN (1998) Plantae Non Vasculares, Fungi et Bryopsidae Orientis Extremi Rossica. Fungi. Vol. 4. Pyrenomycetidae et Loculoascomycetidae. Petropoli: Nauka.
Vassilyeva L[N] (1999) Systematics in mycology. Bibliotheca Mycologica 178: 1–253.
Vassilyeva LN, Nazarova MM (1991) Plantae non Vasculares, Fungi et Bryopsida Orientis Extremi Sovietici. Fungi. Vol. 2. Ascomycetes, Erysiphales, Clavicipitales, Helociales [sic!]. Leningrad: Nauka.