1. Fungal past quietly gone except as specimens. Changes in fungi over time and space can never be known, only inferred from specimens preserved in historical collections. As specimens are destroyed so is their past. The fungal specimens of Pennsylvania State University were slated for annihilation until they were moved and now kept safe from destruction in the world’s largest resource of knowledge about fungi, the U.S. National Fungus Collections. Now the specimens can be tested, for example, for changes in heavy metal content or reveal how and when a plant disease was moved around the globe. Only by knowing what fungi are present in the U.S. using these data can quarantine policy makers keep bad fungi out. In addition the world’s scientists are already requesting specimens on loan to discover past activities of these wood-rotter and plant-destroying fungi.
2. What’s in two names? Confusion! Everyone and everything has a name—that’s how we know what we are talking about. For all living organisms scientific names are used for communication with a genus equivalent to a last name, at least in western society. Like a last name a genus refers to individuals that have a lot in common. Likewise for fungi accurate names are essential for identifying a killer organism and controlling the disease it causes or keeping a bioterrorist fungus out of the country. Confusion in names of fungi has recently been reduced by using only one name instead of two. Just one name for species in a group of disease-causing fungi was proposed and accepted. As a result plant pathologists, plant quarantine officials, and scientists will know what they are talking about when referring to these plant-killing fungi.
Rossman, A.Y., Seifert, K., Samuels, G.J. 2013. Genera in the Bionectriaceae, Hypocreaceae, and Nectriaceae (Hypocreales) proposed for acceptance or rejection. IMA Fungus. 4(1):41-51.