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Plant Biology: Biology of Fungi

PBIO 177 Z1 (CRN: 61759)

4 Credit Hours

About PBIO 177 Z1

Collect, identify and study major fungal groups, especially basidiomycetes (mushrooms, rusts and smuts), ascomycetes (cup fungi, yeasts and mildews), and affiliated taxa. Extensive field and lab work, with thematic lectures. Prerequisite: PBIO 004 or BIOL 002 or BCOR 12 or BCOR 021 or Instructor permission.



Dates: May 20 - June 14, 2019

More Information

Section URL

Section Description

Learn about mushrooms and other fungi through numerous forays into nature and field collecting trips, supplemented by lectures and discussions, and laboratory examination of your collections. We will study and identify the major fungal groups, especially within the basidiomycetes (mushrooms and their kin) and ascomycetes (morels, cup fungi and their kin). Objectives: 1) Learn the unique and shared features of a range of representative fungal families, including their biology, form, and reproductive strategies. Specimens will be identified to species or genus, and you will learn desirable edible species, as well as those that are toxic or deadly. We will discuss the key ecological roles played by fungi, as decomposers, symbionts, and pathogens. 2) Assess the importance of fungi to humans as sources of foods, drugs, and poisons. We’ll discuss the cultivation of fungi for those uses and for basic research involving fungi. Along the way, we’ll highlight species that have impacted human health and culture. 3) You will analyze and identify field-collected mushrooms and other macrofungi, using visible, microscopic and other features for identification. You will learn how to use microscopy and stains to identify the microfeatures of fungi that are important in their identification. 4) You will create a high quality collection of well-characterized, identified, and preserved mushrooms (or other macrofungi), that emphasizes features used in their identification.

Section Expectation

This course combines extensive field work, lecture, and laboratory formats. Students are expected to complete assigned readings prior to class, attend and participate in regular trips into the field (approximately 2-3 times per week), attend lecture, and be engaged in the laboratory. You will present an oral presentation about a fungus you collected to the class. Students should expect to spend 4-6 hours per week outside of class, to prepare your fungal collection the oral presentation. Students will use a textbook, a field guide, and electronic resources to be announced. Students are expected to complete assigned lab exercises, which is focused on producing a collection of approximately 12-15 mushroom species that you collect, characterize and study. Some independent study may be required that involves field or lab work. For lab and field work, students will need a 10x hand lens, pocket knife, notebook and pencils, ruler, collecting basket, a field manual, and clothes and footwear suitable for the forest environment. A camera-phone or other camera is highly recommended. Two texts are required: 1) The Fifth Kingdom. W. Bryce Kendrick (4th Edition, 2017) Hackett Publishing Company ISBN: 978-1-58510-459-8 2) Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada. Timothy J. Baroni (2017), Timber Press. ISBN-13: 978-1604696349. An excellent and current local field guide. 3) OPTIONAL: Mushrooms of Northeastern North America, by Alan Bessette et al. (1997). This is very good resource for northeastern fungi, with extensive keys. Often available through online purchase for about $40. This book could replace Baroni, if you preferred.


Grading will include several quizzes, an oral presentation, lab & field participation, and a collection of 12-15 macrofungi that you collect, study, name, preserve and document.




James M Jeffords Hall 100 (View Campus Map)


to on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

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