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Protocol Overview

Before your Project Begins

  • Register or join a Mycoflora Project.
  • Select your primary observational reporting platform: Mushroom Observer, iNaturalist, or MyCoPortal (see Upload Your Observations).
  • Purchase Field Data Slips(to help organize your field collections, collect field data, provide a scale for measuring fungi in field photos, and help organize your collections when you get home). You can also use the free field slip generator that was used for the 2019 Continental Mycoblitz here. (The slip number will NOT be used as the permanent unique ID.)
  • Levels of citizen science (link to blog when posted)
  • For more information see Become a Project Leader.

LEVEL 1: DOCUMENT

In the Field

  • Photograph specimens carefully in the field, following directions here. Try to include a number of developmental stages.
  • Using a smart phone or other camera that collects time-stamp and GPS location information is easiest (be sure to turn ON your GPS if you want to do citizen science!). Otherwise you will have to add geo-coordinates manually on Mushroom Observer or iNaturalist.
  • Collect specimens, keeping different collections separate (see Document and Dry).
  • Fill out a Field Data Slipand photograph it with each physical collection. Note characteristics on your data slip and/or in a notebook that are not captured photographically, and that may be lost during drying, such as taste, odor and staining. Note habitat on the slip, such as nearest trees (at least hardwood vs conifer) or shrubs; a photograph of the habitat is also a good idea. Store a slip (or at least the lower left part with the unique number) with each specimen.
  • For more information see Document and Dryand Project Protocols.

At Home Base

  • Take additional close-up photos of key features with a DSLR camera if desired. (optional).
  • Upload photosalong with any notes to a databased Internet platform of your choice: Mushroom Observer, iNaturalist, or MycoPortal. (Note that Facebook, Flickr and Instagram are not databased platforms and thus not acceptable for this project.) Many amateurs use MO and iNat because they each have communities of expert users who sometimes give feedback on IDs (see Upload Your Observations).
  • If you use MO or iNat:
    • Create a Species List in MO, or a Project in iNaturalist. This is where you place observations in your project. You’ll also use the lists if you chose to sequence or voucher specimens.
    • Write the MO or iNat number on your Field Slip. NOTE: The MO or iNat observation number will become the unique Specimen ID (not the NAMP Field Slip number): for example, MO Observation 278460or iNat Observation 6461208. This Specimen ID will be used to coordinate between fungaria, MycoPortal, Genbank, etc.
    • Optional: Include the NAMP Field Slip number in MO "Accession Number" field or the iNaturalist "Voucher number(s)" field.
  • Posting initially on MyCoPortal requires a specific workflow: see instructions here.
  • For more information see Document and Dry and Upload Your Observations


LEVEL 2: SEQUENCE DNA 

  • If a Grant funding window is open, apply for funding for sequencing.

Dry Specimens

  • Specimens must be properly dried as soon as possible after collection if you plan to Sequence (LEVEL 2) or Voucher (LEVEL 3) any of your specimens. Do not wait to dry after several days of sitting out!
  • A $60 food dehydrator with temperature control and a fan is highly desirable if you’re going to be processing a lot of specimens. Drying temperature 100 - 110 deg. F. for 24 to 48 hours depending on tissue mass and humidity.
  • Cut off the number on the NAMP Field Data Slip labeled "Voucher Label for Drying" and Scotch tape it to the dehydrator rack with your specimen (so it won't blow around). After drying, your specimens will look very different than when fresh.
  • Store each collection or in an individual ziplock baggie with the remainder of the field data slip once they are cracker dry.
  • For more information see Document and Dry.


Collect Tissue 

  • For sequencing you will need to purchase small vials, for submitting dried tissue pieces, at the NAMP Shop. You can order these with Field Data Slips.
    • If you have a NAMP Sequencing Grant for your project, you will receive these at no cost.
  • Triage: Determine which specimens are needed for sequencing and/or vouchering. This will vary depending on which you want to learn more about and how many sequences you want to pay for or have a grant for.
  • Take tissue samples of dried specimens that you select for sequencing following the Tissue Collection Protocol.
  • Create a list of specimens for sequencing on Mushroom Observer or iNaturalist; export as csv (comma separated file); open as a spreadsheet; print MO/iNat numbers small enough to Scotch tape on vials; cut out and tape around the vials.
    • DON'T use the number on the NAMP Field Data Slip labeled "Tissue Label" and DON’T hand write numbers.

Prepare Tissue Samples for Shipment to Sequencing Lab

  • Review the Sequencing & Fungarium Submission Checklistas you are preparing your tissue samples for submission.
  • Print a list of your specimens from the spreadsheet (as above) to serve as the packing list for your shipment to the sequencing facility.
  • Fill out the Sequencing Submissionform in the NAMP Shop to get the address of the facility that will be sequencing your specimens. Include your printed MO/iNat spreadsheet from the previous step in this submission.
  • Await instructions from NAMP on where to mail the box of numbered vials with tissue samples.
    DNA results will be emailed to you. Completion time depends on a number of factors. We aim for completion within two months from the time tissue samples are received.
  • For more detail see Tissue Submission ProtocolSequencing & Fungarium Submission Checklist, and Analyze your Results on MycoMap.com.


LEVEL 3: SAVE VOUCHERS

Prepare Specimens for Shipment to Fungarium

  • Review the Sequencing & Fungarium Submission Checklist as you are preparing your voucher specimens for submission.
  • Find a local fungarium, if possible, and contact the manager to determine if you can send specimens and what local requirements they have. See Find your Preferred Fungarium. If you cannot find a local fungarium, contact fungarium@mycoflora.orgor Roo Vandegrift werdnus@gmail.com
  • Export your observations to a spreadsheet. On MO export your Species List (MO) in Mycoflora format. On iNat export yourProject (iNat) in Symbiota format(csv). 
  • Print a list of your specimens from the spreadsheet to serve as the packing list for your shipment to the fungarium. Also email the spreadsheet to the fungarium.
  • Print herbarium specimen packets if requested by your partner herbarium.
  • Ensure each specimen is individually labeled with all of the correct metadata: a species name (or at least genus), collection date, collection location, and the MO or iNat number. Include the large portion of the Field Data Slip with each specimen.
  • Place specimen packets or bags with labeled, dried specimens in a small box along with the packing list. 
  • Email your herbarium about your upcoming shipment, along with the MO/iNat upload spreadsheet. 
  • Mail your specimens to your herbarium.
  • Follow up to ensure that your specimens were accessioned.
  • For more detail see Fungarium Submission


For more information see Project Protocols 

About North American Mycoflora Project

NAMP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization expanding the continent-wide community of volunteer citizen scientists and professional mycologists who are documenting the distribution and biodiversity of North American mushrooms and fungi.

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