Researchers Use MyCoPortal to Track Down Specimens Lost for Over 100 Years

Specimens collected in Nicaragua by American mycologist Charles Leonard Smith in the late 19th century were thought to have been lost for over 100 years.Through records created on the MyCoPortal, Gregorio Delgado and Ondřej Koukol of EMLab P&K (Phoenix, AZ) and Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic), respectively, were able to locate physical specimens to examine for the presence of microfungi. Twenty-two taxa were identified by Delgado and Koukol, all of which were originally recorded by Smith in Nicaragua for the first time. The publication, “Microfungi from Nicaragua in a Historical Collection Kept at the Herbarium of the Charles University in Prague” details the circumstances of the discovery, and provides further information on the historical context of the collections and their collector. This publication provides an excellent example of the use of online digitized specimen data for discovering specimens (some assumed to be long lost), and increasing our knowledge of species diversity and distributions.

Contributed by Alex Kuhn, Rhianna Baldree, and Teresa Iturriaga (Microfungi TCN)