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Quick Protocol Guide

Before your Project Begins

In the Field

  • Photograph specimens in the field with a smart phone (or other camera that collects time-stamp and GPS location information).
  • Collect specimens, keeping different collections separate. 
  • Fill out a Field Data Slip and 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 the slip (or at least the lower left part with the unique number) with the specimen.
  • For more information see Document and Prepare Vouchers.

At Home Base

  • Take additional close-up photos of key features with a DSLR camera if desired. (optional)
  • Upload photos along 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 users that give feedback on IDs.
  • If you use MO or iNat:
    • Create a Species List in MO, or a Project in iNaturalist, and add observations you plan to collect tissue from for sequencing.
    • Include the NAMP field data slip number in MO "Accession Number" field or the iNaturalist "Voucher number(s)" field; and write the MO or iNat number on your Field Slip.
    • NOTE: The observation number of the platform (with url) becomes the unique Specimen ID; for example, MO Observation 278460 or iNat Observation 6461208. This Specimen ID will be used to coordinate between fungaria, MycoPortal, Genbank, etc.
  • Posting initially on MyCoPortal:
    • requires a specific workflow: see instructions here.
    • You can optionally post to MO or iNat at the end.
  • For more information see Document and Prepare Vouchers and Content Upload Protocol

Dry specimens

  • A food dehydrator is essential 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 field data slip labeled "Voucher Label for Drying" and tape it to the dehydrator rack with your specimen (so it won't blow around).
  • Store specimens in a ziplock baggie with the remainder of the field data slip once they are cracker dry.
  • For more information see Document and Prepare Vouchers.

Triage and Tissue Collection 

  • Triage: Determine which specimens are needed for vouchering and/or sequencing. This will vary depending on which you want to learn more about and how many sequences you want to pay for of have a Grant for.
  • Take tissue samples of dried specimens that you select for sequencing.
  • Cut off the number on the bottom of the field data slip labeled "Tissue Label" for each specimen and tape it to a vial. Ensure that each vial has the correct NAMP Specimen Number from the field slip scotch-taped to it. Or print and scotch-tape MO or iNat observation numbers to tubes.
  • For more detail see Tissue Collection Protocol

Prepare Tissue Samples for Shipment to Sequencing Lab

Prepare Specimens for Shipment to Herbarium/Fungarium

  • Export observations in Species List (MO) or Project (iNat) as Mycoflora (MO) or Symbiota spreadsheet (csv). Ensure each record has a corresponding NAMP Specimen Number. 
  • Print a list of your specimens from the spreadsheet to serve as the packing list for your shipment to the fungarium. Email the list to the fungarium.
  • Print herbarium labels/specimen packets if requested by your partner herbarium.
  • Ensure individual specimens are individually labeled with all of the correct metadata: a species name, collection date, collection location, and specimen 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.
  • For more detail see Herbarium/Fungarium Submission

Protocol Home Page

About North American Mycoflora Project

NAMP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to create a continent-wide community of volunteer citizen scientists and professional mycologists to document the biodiversity of North American fungi.

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