Cornell University

The Ithaca Bioblitz

Last year's bird's nest fungiWe held our first ever Bioblitz on April 28 and it was a lot of fun. You can check out our photos, posted at my Flickr site. We found lots of different things–so many that we’re still tabulating. I’ll get back to you soon with the final species count and THE BIG LIST.

Mycena alcalinaI have to say, April 28 is a pretty bad time for fungi in upstate New York. Morels aren’t out yet, and what fungi we found were mostly remnants of last Fall’s fruiting bodies, like the empty bird’s nest fungi at right. The only real “fresh” mushroom we found was this LBM (little brown mushroom), Mycena alcalina. Not that I’m any kind of Mycena expert, but when you crush this one, it smells like chlorine.

Lophodermium pinastriWe found some very interesting organisms. At right is Lophodermium pinastri, a little discomycete that inhabits the needles of pines. It’s related to the tar spot fungi, which you might’ve seen making big black blotches on maple leaves. This one on white pine causes a needle cast disease that can be pretty bad if you’re fond of growing monocultures of pine trees, but on this diverse property it appears to be a low key pathogen. In the photo the black fruiting bodies have not yet split open to release their payload of infective ascospores.

Dan over at Migrations came and helped out–you can check out his photos, too. Our greatest contributors were the bryologists, who came and scoured the landscape for itty bitties, then painstakingly identified them all back at Headquarters. More about their finds soon. For now, I’ll leave you with this plucky little guy, the leadback phase of the red-backed salamander–he was just wider than my finger, and man could he wiggle and jump!

lithe little leadback salamander



4 Responses to “ The Ithaca Bioblitz ”


Most people don't pay much attention to fungi, which include things like mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Here at Cornell we think they're pretty fascinating. In fact, even the most disgusting foot diseases and moldy strawberries are dear to our hearts. We'd like to talk to you about fungi, so that like us, you too can tell gross stories at the dinner table. Afterwards, maybe you'll notice some things you would have overlooked before, and we think this could be good for the planet.

Kathie T. Hodge, Editor

Beneath Notice, our book of borescopic mycology.


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