Thompson Island, and the tale of my undergrads making it up to me
The day had taken a bad start. One of my undergraduate students had texted me, saying both of them would be too late and “we should be going already” and they “would take the next boat.” They probably didn’t think of the fact that Thompson Island is a privately owned island and, hence, there would be no next boat. I said they would have to make it up to me by – whatever, I thought at that moment, and I choose for – collecting at the Fresh Pond. So far for my undergraduate students contributing to the All-Taxa Inventory of Fungal Biodiversity at the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts.
Luckily, all other participants had made it to the boat to Thompson Island on time. It was a beautiful day, too beautiful, to be honest. It was dry. Not an ideal starting point for a mushroom foray. I was hopeful, though; just a few weeks ago, on a day even warmer and drier than today, Lawrence Larry Millman, my wife, and I were at Thompson Island finding so many collections that we didn’t even see half of the island. So after a round of introductions, giving some information about the National Park Service and collecting instructions, we took off … to find mainly a bunch of polypores.
Here’s a first shortlist of what we got out of this walk:
– Apiosporina morbosa
– Armillaria cf. mellea (honey mushroom)
– Daedaleopsis confragosa (thin-maze flat polypore)
– Ganoderma applanatum (artist’s conk)
– Irpex lacteus (milk-white toothed polypore)
– Phellinus spp.
– Piptoporus betulinus (birch polypore)
– Polyporus alveolaris
– Polyporus squamosus (dryad’s saddle)
– Schizophyllum commune (common split gill)
– Scleroderma citrinum (pigskin poison puffball)
– Strobilomyces floccopus (old man of the woods)
– Trametes versicolor (turkey tail)
– Trichaptum biforme (violet toothed polypore)
We actually found A LOT of collections, but many of them were more of the same species. I think we had about twenty or so collections of Trichaptum biforme, and at some point I could not see any more puffball (Scleroderma citrinum).
In this list I did not yet mention the interesting ascomycete-on-wood collection, a collection of orange discomycetes, some myxomycete, a pathogen on leaves of maple, and a species of oomycetes.
Oh, and at the end of the day I received a text from my undergraduate student “you will be proud of us that we collected so many lady beetles” while the other added in his message that “they have Laboulbeniales”, meaning that I may have fresh thalli of Hesperomycesvirescens for my phylogenetic analyses. Well, that, fortunately, was some great news.