The National Science Foundation has announced a new grant to provide funding for a nationwide, publicly accessible database of mushrooms and related fungi. Including mushrooms, porcini, puffballs, club fungi, conks, morels, stinkhorns, truffles and cup fungi, these organisms play a critical role in the lives of plants and animals, including humans. Some are gastronomical delights, others are deadly poisonous, and all serve as nature’s recyclers, returning nutrients to the soil through decomposition. Scientists in the U.S. have been studying macrofungi for the past 150 years, resulting in a legacy of approximately 1.4 million dried scientific specimens conserved in 35 institutions in 24 states. Through this project, led by Drs. Barbara M. Thiers and Roy E. Halling of The New York Botanical Garden, these treasures will be virtually liberated from their museum cabinets and shared on-line through the Mycology Collections Portal and through many other on-line collections databases such as The Garden’s Virtual Herbarium. The database created by this project will enable a national census of these critically important organisms, and allow researchers to better understand the relationship between macrofungi and other organisms.