UW-La Crosse

Tom Volk's Fungi
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Greetings from Wisconsin!! I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where I teach a course on General Mycology and another on Medical Mycology, as well as some Plant Biology. La Crosse is located in western Wisconsin on the Mississippi River in the beautiful driftless (unglaciated) area, between the river and spectacular 500-600 ft. bluffs. I was previously at the Center for Forest Mycology Research at the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin.

This page received its 19,000th hit during the month of May! Many thanks to all of you from all over the world who have taken a few minutes to write and say hello or to send your compliments or criticism in the past 19 months that this page has been online. If you write, please let me know from what city and country you're writing from, or what state if you're in the USA. I've started a personal collection of countries and states where my pages have been read! -- So I'd especially like to hear from you if you're reading this from outside the USA

This page was last updated on June 3, 1997, and contains information on: This page and other pages are © Copyright 1997 by Thomas J. Volk.
If you have comments or questions or helpful hints please write me at my email address volk_tj@mail.uwlax.edu. (note the underscore symbol between volk and tj-- some web browsers underline the entire link)
The correct URL for this page is still http://www.wisc.edu/botany/fungi/volkmyco.html

me with lots of morelsI did my Ph.D. dissertation on the life cycle of the genus Morchella--This is the result of my first morel hunt in 1983.-- but it's been all downhill ever since...

Besides my job as a Assistant Professor at UW-LaCrosse, I have maintained my association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Botany, where I am an Honorary Fellow, and I thank them for letting me maintain my pages and gopher images here. I have worked extensively with Michael Clayton of the UW Botany Department in scanning in and polishing these images. Visit Mike Clayton's Virtual Foliage Home Page for information on how my fungi images were digitized and to see his extensive and very impressive collection of images for teaching botany.

Mycology research

In August 1996 I moved from a 6.5 year temporary/term position at the Center for Forest Mycology Research at the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin. There we worked on a variety of biosystematic and ecological projects dealing with wood-inhabiting fungi, mostly in the Polyporaceae s.l., Corticiaceae s.l. and Agaricales, as well as root- and butt-rot fungi in those groups. I will continue to collaborate with other researchers there, since Madison is only a 2.5 hour drive from La Crosse. Current research programs there include the systematics and taxonomy in the genera Armillaria, Laetiporus, Oxyporus, Bridgeoporus, Phlebia, and Phellinus, and also the study of ecology and pathogenesis of fungi in temperate and tropical ecosystems. In addition, the CFMR houses the world's largest culture collection of wood-inhabiting fungi, with approximately 15,000 isolates of about 2500 species, ~90% of which are basidiomycetes. At the CFMR, I am continuing to work with Hal Burdsall on a monograph of the North American Armillaria species. We have already published the taxonomic part as a book:

"A nomenclatural study of Armillaria and Armillariella species" Fungiflora, Oslo Norway: Synopsis Fungorum 8, 121 pp. (1995).

In this book we have determined the current taxonomic placement of the ~270 species that were once placed in either or both of these genera. Approximately 30 species are currently accepted in Armillaria; the rest belong in 43 other modern genera. We have also published a Key to North American species of Armillaria. We have recently described North American Biological Species (NABS) IX as a new species, Armillaira nabsnona Volk & Burdsall. (in Volk, Burdsall & Banik, Mycologia 88 : 484-491, 1996). As promised in that paper here are some color images of Armillaria nabsnona. We have also confirmed the presence of NABS XI on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington (Banik, Volk, & Burdsall, Mycologia 88: 492-496.)

For a list of my publications and what I'm working on now, including Armillaria, Laetiporus, Bridgeoporus, Morchella, and a number of fungal biodiversity studies, check out my list of publications. Here are some images of the fungi we work on. WARNING: there are many inline images of fungi on this page, so it may take a while to load at slower modem speeds.

Life cycle of the morel

Besides continuing my work with Armillaria and other wood inhabiting fungi, I will once again get to work on morels! I have provided a page of the Life Cycle of the Morel, which includes a paper originally published in McIlvainea. The same warnings about inline images apply here!

Teaching with Images of Fungi

We have online a set of about 1000 fungi images in JPEG format:

Please enter through this
GATEWAY to Tom Volk's fungi images gopher site

I taught most of my mycology course in the Fall of 1994 at the UW- Madison from a Macintosh computer station with an attached LCD panel projection system , using many of these images, along with a word processing document as my "blackboard." Besides the limited time the images were visible to the students in the "traditional" lecture setting, the images and text were available to the students on a computer in the lab, as well as through the internet. It worked out very well. I am using computer images in my Mycology, Medical Mycology and Plant Biology classes at La Crosse also. There are also many practical organizational advantages to using a computer vs. traditional slides. Another advantage over using a book is that many different views of a specimen or many different specimens of a species can be included to simulate a 3-D view and to show the variation within a species. If anyone else has taught class by computer I'd be very interested in hearing about your experience.

Some smaller size samples of the images in JPEG format are on this page of CFMR fungi and this page of fungi that might be found in Wisconsin. WARNING: there are many inline images of fungi on these two pages, so they may take a while to load at slower modem speeds.

OBLIGATE DISCLAIMER: Of course, you should consult an appropriate field guide or scientific literature with extensive descriptions if you plan on collecting any mushrooms for eating purposes. Remember you must carefully and completely (and correctly!) identify a fungus to species to be sure about eating it.

Wisconsin Mycological Society and other non-professional mycology endeavors

I am a very strong advocate of the involvement of non-professional mycologists in the study of fungi at many different levels. This is one of the reasons I am proud to be an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Mycological Society. The WMS has approximately 400 members including amateur and professional mycologists from all over the state of Wisconsin. Monthly meetings are held in the winter months, along with a morel foray in the spring, a summer foray and 5 or 6 Saturday or Sunday forays in September and October. We also hold an impressive Mushroom Fair in late September or early October. For further information on joining the Wisconsin Mycological Society write to me. I'm also planning on starting a local chapter of the Wisconsin Mycological Society here in La Crosse. If you're from the area and you're interested please write! A morel foray is planned for early May.

I participated, for my seventh time, in the national foray of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) this past Labor Day weekend in Ascutney, Vermont, co-sponsored by the Northeast Mycological Federation (NEMF). I highly recommend this annual foray for all professional and non-professional mycologists. David Fischer has set up a nice website for the 1996 NAMA Sam Ristich Foray. (also I suggest you check out Dave Fischer's Real Answers About Mushrooms.) The 1997 NAMA foray will be held Aug. 14-17, Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado. An additional NAMA winter foray will be held Feb. 13-16, 1998 at Asilomar, Monterey, California. If anyone knows of web sites for these forays, please let me know, and I will include them here. NAMA does have a web page, but only limited foray information is available there. The forays are a lot of fun--and many of the so-called "amateurs" know more mushrooms than I do!

I will again be teaching (with Johann Bruhn, Dana Richter, and John Rippon et al.) a workshop on the "Introduction to the Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms of Michigan." The workshop is held at the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta, Michigan (south of Houghton and L'Anse in the UP). The dates for 1997 will be Sept. 26-28. For further information write to me.

Other Mycological resources

I highly recommend visiting the home page of The Mycological Society of America for information on Mycology in North America and lots of links to intersting places in Mycological Cyberspace. Thanks to Linda Kohn for maintaining this site.

For further information on plant pathogens that affect many types of crop plants and forests and what plant pathologists are doing about them, you should visit the home page of the American Phytopathological Society.

Jim Worrall at SUNY-Syracuse has set up a web page for his course in Forest and shade tree pathology. The page is an excellent example of how the Internet can be used effectively in teaching mycology, and also serve as a resource for the general mycological and forest pathology communities.

A great innovation in disseminating biodiveristy and taxonomic information may be found at Digital Exsiccate of Fungi. The Digital Exsiccate of Fungi is an online database offering descriptions of wood-decay fungi primarily in the genera Hyphodontia and Botryobasidium complemented by detailed illustrations. It is maintained in Germany by Ewald Langer and Gitta Langer.

For another fungal biodiversity site, I would suggest you check out Roy Halling's and Greg Mueller's web page on Agaricales of Costa Rican Quercus forests. This page is an excellent example of succinct, user-friendly reporting of biodiversity information in a way that is accessible to researchers, students and the public. Including pictures is certainly more likely to get people's attention than the mere publishing of a list, or even a list with descriptions. Not that publishing lists is bad-- I've done it myself!

If you're interested in learning something about medical mycology, I highly recommend the Medical Mycology Page at the Medical Mycology Research Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. This site is very well put together and contains lots of information on and pictures of various human diseases and conditions that are caused by fungi.

You can also visit a nice Medical Mycology web site set up by the UW- Madison Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

For additional images and descriptions of fungi, I suggest you check out Mike Wood and Fred Stevens' really outstanding "Fungi of the San Francisco Bay area" : Mykoweb: Mike's Mycological Museum, where you will finds links to pictures and descriptions of over 170 species of fungi.

I could list lots of other great Mycological sites, but this has already been done by several others. The most extensive and impressive listing of Mycological Resources on the Internet is maintained by Kathie Hodge at Cornell University. Thanks Kathie!

It would be great to hear from you. Let me know what you think about these pages.


(note the underscore symbol between volk and tj)

or you can write to my snailmail address at:
Tom Volk
Dept. of Biology and Microbiology
3024 Cowley Hall
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI 54601