The Biota of the Gordon Natural Area - Fungi

Macrofungi at the GNA

A good deal of mycological investigation has taken place at the GNA. In 2009, undergrad Lauryn Levy, under the supervision of Dr. Greg Turner, conducted a survey of the GNA macrofungi, in which she noted 21 species of fungi (and one slime mold). For the next eight years, no mycological work appears to have taken place at the GNA, other than occasional photographing of fungi by then GNA Stewardship Manager Gerry Hertel and GNA Student Intern William Ricci.

Beginning in late 2017, GNA Student Intern Alexandra Hodowanec and GNA Stewardship Manager Nur Ritter began photographing and documenting the fungi (and slime molds) at the Gordon. This work has continued since that time with other student interns who have surveyed, identified, and catalogued the GNA’s fungi. Student Interns Paige Vermeulen, Maribeth Beatty, and Ariana Rivellini have all been at the forefront of this work.

To date, 378 species of fungi, in 240 Genera, 109 Families, and 33 Orders have been noted at the GNA. As with the bryophytes and lichens, there are numerous photos of unidentified fungi awaiting determination. And, one important thing to note is that macrofungi (i.e., the ‘visible’ fungi) represent only a tiny portion of an ecosystem's fungi, with mycorrhizal fungi representing the majority of the ecosystem's fungal component.

The species are organized in three Phyla: Ascomycetes (92 species); Basidiomycetes (282 species); and, Zygomycetes (4 species). For the Basidiomycetes, the best-represented families are the Polyporaceae (26 species) and Meruliaceae (15 species). The most speciose Ascomycete Families are the Xylariaceae (10 species), and the Hypocreaceae (8 species). Although we haven't collected any abundance data, it appears to us that the most commonly encountered and abundant species are Trichaptum biforme (Violet-toothed Polypore), Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail), Stereum ostrea (False Turkey Tail), and Stereum complicatum (Crowded Parchment).

The actual number of species of fungi at the Gordon is assumed to be significantly higher than the 378 species currently known for the GNA and could easily be two to three times that number. What can be said is that when one of us goes out looking for fungi, they frequently encounter at least one 'new' species (i.e., one that hadn't previously been noted in the GNA). For example, of the 181 species of fungi noted in the GNA during 2020, approximately one-fifth (41 species; 22.7%) constituted first records for the Gordon.

Below, is a list of the species that have been observed at the GNA. PLEASE NOTE: The greatest part of these species identifications has been by amateurs (i.e., lovers of fungi who, in some cases, have little or no training in mycology). Hence, you should not consider these images to be a reliable source for identification. Many fungi are poisonous and you should not collect or eat any mushrooms without being absolutely certain of their identity!

You can explore the fungi checklist below, or you can access a pdf copy of the checklist.