University of Florida Fungal Collection
The University of Florida Fungal Collection or Fungarium (FLAS) is one of the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
The fungarium is managed by the Plant Pathology Department and is curated by Dr. Matthew Smith. The collection is located in Building 737 (just off Hull Road west of Fifield Hall). The FLAS acronym is the standard international abbreviation for the University of Florida Fungarium. It is derived from the fungarium's association with the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.
The mission of the fungarium is to preserve fungal specimens, catalog specimens for ongoing mycological research, and to facilitate studies on fungal biology and biodiversity in Florida. Studies based on fungal specimens help us to understand the evolution of fungi (how fungi are related to each other and to other organisms) and also fungal ecology (what fungi do in the environment and how they interact with other organisms).
The fungarium is a valuable resource that holds critical voucher collections of economic importance including: 1) plant pathogenic fungi, 2) fungi that are deadly poisonous to humans and pets when consumed, 3) fungi that are useful for commercial applications (e.g. industrial processing, bioremediation), and 4) fungi that are toxic to animals (e.g. fungi that attack forage grasses).
The fungarium currently holds more than 58,000 fungal specimens that consist of macrofungal fruiting bodies (mushrooms, shelf fungi, etc.), plants infected by fungi, and isolates of microfungi on dried agar plates. These include approximately 700 type specimens of mushrooms and related fungi that were deposited by the prolific mycologist W.A. Murrill. Several web resources document the scientific accomplishments and colorful life of Dr. Murrill (1 & 2).
People who are interested in borrowing fungal specimens or visiting the fungarium should contact:
Dr. Matthew Smith
Department of Plant Pathology
2527 Fifield Hall
Gainesville FL 32611