While our meetings and most of our walks are open to the public, there are definite benefits to joining the Mushroom Club of Georgia and renewing yearly.
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May 1st, 2019
"Richer than Gold: Biodiversity vs Industrial Mining"
Join Dr. Roo Vandegrift for an exciting adventure into one of the last unlogged watersheds in western Ecuador to document the rich biodiversity that is threatened by mining. He and his international team of researchers have just returned from a National Geographic funded expedition into the heart of the cloud forest to help describe its wonders. Roo will share background on the fungal biodiversity of the region (with notes on other kingdoms and a special focus on the genus Xylaria), highlight preliminary findings from this recent adventure, and discuss current and future challenges for preserving this part of the planet. Expect beautiful images of wonderful organisms!
Dr. Roo Vandegrift was born in the Appalachian mountains of southwestern Virginia. He completed his undergraduate work at Virginia Tech, in Dr. RH Jones’ soil ecology lab, and then worked for several years at a venture capital funded biotech company, before moving back to ecological research as a lab technician with Dr. Brenda Casper at the University of Pennsylvania. Roo finished his PhD in 2016 in Dr. Bitty Roy’s lab at the University of Oregon, with a fair bit of shared advising by Dr. George Carroll. During his time as a student there, he received the NSF GRFP in 2011, and the MSA Graduate Fellowship in 2013. Also in 2013, he participated in NSF’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) program in Taiwan, where he was able to work with the incomparable taxonomist Dr. Yu-Ming Ju.
Since receiving his doctorate, Roo has been working as a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Oregon’s Biology and the Built Environment Center, studying the interface between fungal ecology and building science. Currently, he is working on a large EPA funded study examining the impacts of home weatherization on the microbial (fungi and bacteria) communities found in household dust, among other things. In his spare time, functions as the Herbarium Liaison with the North American Mycoflora project, volunteers as an Executive Board Member for the Rainforest Information Center’s campaign to reduce the impact of expanding metals mining on protected forests in the Ecuadorian Andes, and studies the taxonomy and systematics fungi in the Ascomycete family Xylariaceae.
As always, try to come around 6:15 to meet, greet, and share in some snacks!
(FALSE?) MOREL SEASON
It's that time of year again, when hunters hit the woods in search of the elusive morel. Unfortunately there are other (albeit much less common) mushrooms that can appear during this season known as false morels, the name given to several species of mushroom which bear a resemblance to the highly regarded true morels of the genus Morchella. So now is a perfect time for a refresher on the false morel from Tom Volk, mycologist and previous MCG speaker. And remember, if in doubt, do not risk eating it!
MCG features monthly meetings each year between February and November on a variety of fungi-related topics. To view some of our previous meetings go HERE.
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