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Awards and Personalia

Awards

The CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre presented its two prestigious awards at the start of the second day of the “1 Fungus = 1 Name” symposium in Amsterdam on Wednesday 20 April 2011. The awards are made at irregular intervals by the institute following discussions by its senior staff. This is the second time these awards have been made, and the citations were read, and the presentation of certificates made, by the institute’s Director, Pedro W. Crous.

Johanna Westerdijk Award: Jack W. Fell

Awarded on special occasions to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the culture collection of the CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre, marking a distinguished career in mycology. Nominees for the award will be evaluated on the basis of quality, originality, and quantity of their contributions to the collection, and on the basis of associated mycological research in general.

Extracts from the nomination letter submitted by Teun Boekhout are the following: “Dr. Jack W. Fell came to RSMAS (University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Biology and Fisheries) as a graduate student in 1957 to study marine mycology. This he has been doing ever since that time with a focus on yeasts, but he also described genera such as Halophytophtora. Jack has been pioneering the isolation of yeasts from extreme habitats, such as Antarctica, but also marine environments. This has resulted in many new discoveries on the life-cycle of basidiomycetous yeasts, including Rhodosporodium, Leucosporidium, Mrakia, etc. Jack also contributed significantly to the diversity in mating type biology in the different yeasts and his results attract attention up to today.

Jack has also been the first who studied molecular phylogeny of basidiomycetous yeasts, initially including the D1D2 domain followed by the ITS regions. This work has made it possible for many researchers to either correctly identify their strains or to recognize it as a new species. As a result of his work on basidiomycetous yeasts (and that of Clete Kurtzman’s on ascomycetous yeasts), approximately 25 % of the ca. 1500 yeast species included in the fifth edition of The Yeasts: a taxonomic study’ have been described during the last decade! Following the molecular phylogenies Jack has also been very instrumental to develop molecular detection tools for pathogenic yeasts, including Cryptococcus, Malassezia and Trichosporon, using the Luminex XMap platform.

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Jack W. Fell receiving the Johanna Westerdijk Award from CBS-KNAW Director, Pedro Crous.

Fortunately, most of the strains that he collected and all that have been published are in the CBS yeast collection. Since his “retirement” (still going strong in the lab!) his extensive strain collection has been deposited both at NRRL and CBS, and the CBS collection is still busy completing this process.

Jack was author for several chapters in the third edition of The Yeasts, and he was editor of the fourth (1998) and fifth (2011) editions. Although the changing notion on the extent of yeast biodiversity is getting clearer, there still remains a lot to be done by future generations, that, however, need to consult his many contributions to science. Jack’s passion is sailing with his wonderful sailing ship, but he is also still active in the maintenance of a field station for Pam, his partner, at the Bahamas.

It is with great pride and extreme joy, that we today hand the Westerdijk award to Dr Jack Fell”.

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Phytophthora epistomium, zoosporangia.

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Phytophthora mycoparasitica. Zoosporangium releasing zoospores.

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Phytophthora spinosa. Zoosporangia with spines.

Josef Adolf von Arx Award: David L. Hawksworth

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David L. Hawksworth receiving the Josef Adolf von Arx Award from CBS-KNAW Director, Pedro Crous.

Awarded on special occasions to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to taxonomic research of fungal biodiversity, marking a distinguished career in mycology. Nominees for the award will be evaluated on the basis of quality, originality, and quantity of their contributions in the field of fungal taxonomy.

Extracts from the nomination letter submitted by David Minter and Pedro Crous are the following: “It is no exaggeration to state that his name is universally known within our field. David started his career as a lichenologist, at a time when lichens were classified separately from other fungi. Joining the then Commonwealth Mycological Institute at Kew in 1969, he was immediately involved, under the leadership of Ainsworth himself, as a junior editor working to prepare the sixth edition of Ainsworth & Bisby’s Dictionary of the Fungi (1971). That was the first edition in which generic names of lichens were listed. By the time of the seventh edition (1983), he was the Dictionary’s senior editor and Director of that Institute.

Of several hundred peer-reviewed works which David has produced, one in particular has been outstandingly influential: his 1991 paper published in Mycological Research and entitled “The fungal dimension of biodiversity: magnitude, significance and conservation”. In that work, he proposed the figure of 1.5 million as a best working estimate of the number of fungal species on Earth. Because of the meticulous presentation of carefully marshalled information, that figure was widely taken up and is now generally accepted, making that work, his 1990 Presidential Address to the British Mycological Society, one of the most cited in mycology.

David’s involvement with the International Mycological Association has spanned many years during which he has given generous and outstanding service. He was Secretary General of the IMA from 1977 to 1990, becoming President from 1990 to 1994. During that time he revised the Association’s statutes and developed its system of regional committees which is still in use today. In 1994, the IMA made him one of its Honorary Presidents, and in that capacity, he has continued to contribute to the work of the Association for many years since his last executive role. In developing the IMA’s infrastructure, David built on the work of his predecessors, Geoffrey Ainsworth, “C.V” Subramanian, and John Webster. David is also a former member of the scientific advisory board of the CBS.

For 14 years he was Director of the Commonwealth and, later, International Mycological Institute. Then there is the wide range of journals for which he has served as editor, the committees and commissions through which this science, like any other, develops, the hundreds of individual papers, chapters and books produced over the years, the key work in the reform of biological nomenclature, and his incursions into new channels of research, such as, most recently, forensic mycology.

We are extremely proud today to be able to honour Professor Hawksworth with the Josef von Arx award. I think that similar to von Arx, David Hawksworth is also seen as a trailblazer in fungal taxonomic research”.

Birthday Greetings: Rolf Santesson’s 95th

Mycologists involved in nomenclatural matters, and lichenologists all over the world, will wish to join in sending Rolf Santesson (Uppsala, Sweden) good wishes on the occasion of his 95th birthday on 19 April 2011. Rolf was one of the first to stress that lichenized fungi should be embraced in the overall system of fungi, and an advocate of the application of the names given to lichens to the fungal partners alone. His research has been wide ranging, with his first publications being on lichen zonation on lake-shores (1939). Amongst his other work are studies of South American macrolichens, the outstanding monograph of foliicolous lichens (1952), marine pyrenocarpous lichens, pioneering work on lichenicolous fungi, assisting with lichen entries for Index Nominum Genericorum (Plantarum), a series of meticulously produced checklists of Swedish and later Scandinavian lichens and lichenicolous fungi, etc, etc — and a contribution in this issue of IMA Fungus (pp. 71–79). More information on this remarkable man, an inspiration and mentor to so many, is included in a 70th birthday tribute (Tibell & Moberg 1986). It is with great pleasure that lichenologists all over the world wish him well once more on this special occasion, and trust he will continue to have much enjoyment from his lichen studies.

In Memoriam

John William (“Bill”) Carmichael (1927–2011)

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John William (“Bill”) Carmichael. Photo: his wife, Carol McPherson.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of the distinguished Canadian mycologist Bill Carmichael. Bill obtained his BSc and MSc at the University of Alberta, and his PhD from Harvard University, then spent his career as a professor in the University of Alberta Bacteriology and Medical Microbiology departments. He is best known to mycologists as the senior author of the classic Genera of Hyphomycetes (1980), and was also known for his work on the taxonomy of medically important fungi, especially the hyphomycete genus Chrysosporium. He was one of the first mycologists to experiment with numerical taxonomy during a spell with medical bacteriologist Peter H.A. Sneath at the University of Leicester (UK). Bill was the founder of the University of Albert Microfungus Collection and Herbarium UAMH), one of Canada’s most significant fungal culture collections. In 1972, he worked as a part-time professor and part time resident of an acreage on Vancouver Island until his full retirement in 1983. A full obituary and overview of his career is expected in an upcoming issue of Mycologia.

M.A.A. (“Riet”) Schipper (1923–2011)

On 16 March 2011 Riet Schipper passed away, and with her the mycological community, and CBS in particular, lost a colleague who had dedicated her career to the building of a collection of fungi according to the highest standards, and to a taxonomic study of several groups of the Mucorales.

Riet was born on 9 February 1923 in Zijpe, joined CBS (then in Baarn) on 5 September 1956, and received her doctorate in 1973. She was initiated into the world of the fungi by Melie Stolk and Agatha van Beverwijk, and in 1967 assumed the responsibility for the culture collection. At that time every strain was preserved in agar, and she introduced the preservation on mineral oil as a ‘spare’ collection. But when she learned that freeze-drying of bacteria was a successful preservation method, she introduced that for the fungi as well, starting with a home-made manifold. Although the method was strictly empirical, many of the tubes freeze-dried in those early days are still viable today. Moreover she designed a temperature and moisture controlled collection room, which greatly enhanced the shelf-life of strains stored on agar. With her dedication and practical knowledge she has laid the foundation for a scientific collection that is now recognized as excellent. She was also internationally active and from the start involved in the European Culture Collections Organization (ECCO).

Her scientific work on the taxonomy of the genera Mucor and Rhizopus was not only based on morphology, but also on the biological interactions of the species concerned. Much effort was put into finding the conditions for mating, and her species and genus concepts survived the molecular tests nearly intact, a result that stands out among contemporary research. Her results clearly demonstrated that biological species are not sharply delimited, but also that a meticulous application of a biological concept could nevertheless be successfully applied.

Outside the laboratory, Riet was a very active person. She loved rowing on the River Eem in a skiff, and for fifty years was a member of the rowing club of the same name, where she showed generations of athletes the tricks of the trade. She also enjoyed mountaineering, often together with Agnes H.S. “Nan” Onions, the former curator of the International Mycological Institute’s culture collection in the UK.

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Maria Anna Agnes (“Riet”) Schipper. Photo: courtesy of CBS-KNAW.

CBS will always remember Riet with gratitude and respect for her dedication and the quality of her work.

Roger D. Goos (1924–2011)

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On 7 March 2011, Roger Delmon Goos passed into history. Roger played an often unassuming, but major role in US mycology, and especially the Mycological Society of America (of which he was President for 1985–1986), for over half a century. An Iowa man, he served in Europe during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He received his PhD from the University of Iowa in 1958, and spent most of his career (from 1970–1995) in the University of Rhode Island. He is best known for his revisionary work on helicosporous fungi, and his typescripts, and drawings of these were donated to the Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden in 1999. Works from his considerable personal library were already finding good homes through the Friends of the Farlow’s annual book sale, and I was thrilled to secure his personal copy of Linder’s 1929 monograph. In addition to his national and international professional reputation, Roger was also a well-known figure amongst local naturalists, conducting popular mushroom walks. He is survived by Mary Lee Goos, his wife of more than 64 years, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

IMA Young Mycologist Awards 2011 — Reminder

All mycologsist are reminded that the closing date for nominations for the six awards due to be announced this year must be made to the appropriate Regional Committee by 1 September 2011. In order to be eligible for this round of awards, the person nominated must have received the degree of PhD no earlier than the year 2000. For further information see IMA Fungus 1(2): (18)–(19) (2010).

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Seifert, K.A., Stalpers, J.A. & Hawksworth, D.L. Awards and Personalia. IMA Fungus 2, A10–A13 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03449488

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