My first opportunity to speak to the world’s mycological community through this column must begin with sincere thanks to the Past President of the International Mycological Association, Pedro Crous of the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures and the Universities of Utrecht and Wageningen in the Netherlands. Under President Crous the scope of the IMA was broadened well beyond its traditional focus on the quadrennial International Mycological Congress while, at the same time, sponsoring a most memorable IMC9 in Edinburgh. Regarding IMC9, thanks are especially due to the IMC9 organizing committee, consisting of chair Nick Read and members Simon Avery, Nick Clipson, Geoff Gadd, and Neil Gow. Thanks also are due the Elsevier group, led by Nina Cosgrove. I also want to thank Karen Hansen for agreeing to serve a second term as IMA Treasurer and Dominik Begerow for accepting the task of IMA Secretary.
Over the past four years, the foundation for a reinvigorated IMA was laid in the form of new statutes, which were ratified at the General Assembly of the IMC in Edinburgh and which can be viewed at the IMA website using this URL: <https://doi.org/ima-mycology.org/about/statutes.html>. The new statutes are more explicit than the old about membership in the IMA, about election of IMA officers and members of the IMA Executive Committee, about proposals to host future IMCs, and about awards made by the IMA.
Given that the mission of the IMA is “the promotion and encouragement of mycology throughout the world,” the IMA website, initiated by previous IMA officers, including Gioconda San Blas, Trond Schumacher and Meredith Blackwell, has assumed increased importance. The site <https://doi.org/ima-mycology.org/> has become essential for coordinating the activities of the six IMA Regional Mycological Member Organizations, which represent Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America.
A very significant contribution to the mission of global mycology is the transfer of responsibility for MycoBank from CBS to the IMA. MycoBank (<https://doi.org/mycobank.org>) aims to host nomenclatural, genetic and phenotypic data for all described fungi and to make that information freely available to all of science. The IMA membership clearly appreciates the worth of MycoBank, having voiced 86% support that “Deposition of key nomenclatural information in one or more approved depositories (e.g., MycoBank) should be made mandatory for the valid publication of new fungal names.”
A second, significant contribution is IMA Fungus, which you, dear reader, clearly appreciate. Deep thanks are due to Pedro Crous and IMA Fungus Editor David Hawksworth, and to the members of the IMA Executive Council, who now also wear the hats of Associate Editors of IMA Fungus.
The third major contribution concerns IMA awards. IMC9 witnessed the resurrection of the two awards traditionally made by the IMA, but absent since 1996 — the De Bary Medal for outstanding career research, awarded at IMC9 to Franz Oberwinkler, and the Ainsworth Medal for extraordinary service to world mycology, awarded at IMC9 to both Emory Simmons and Richard Korf. In addition, 2010 saw the initiation of a new set of awards, the IMA Young Mycologist Awards, designed to honor the research accomplishments of young mycologists from each of the six regions. The first awards, which we had hoped to make in time for IMC9, will be determined over the next year and awarded in 2014, along with the second set of IMA Young Mycologist Awards to be determined early in 2014. The announcement about the IMA Young Mycologist Awards is in this issue of IMA Fungus and can also be found at <https://doi.org/ima-mycology.org/Awards.html>.
Mention of 2014 brings us to the final contribution, which is centered on selection of Thailand as the site for IMC10, with Leka Manoch as chair of the IMC10 Organizing Committee. To establish continuity between IMCs, the new statues tap the experience of the past chair of the IMC organizing committee by appointing this person as one of two IMA Vice-Presidents, the other being the chair of the next IMC organizing committee, in this case, Nick Read and Leka Manoch, respectively. To further encourage continuity, one to three members of the IMA executive council will serve on the IMC10 program committee along with mycologists from host nation and region.
Although the focus of the IMA remains the quadrennial IMC, the meeting now shares the stage with the other contributions that the IMA makes to global mycology, through the IMA website, MycoBank, IMA Fungus, and support provided by the IMA to Regional Mycological Member Organizations. Clearly, the tasks and opportunities have grown beyond what can be attended to solely by the officers and Executive Committee of the IMA. Over the next four years, to ensure that the innovations made over the past four years succeed, I will be calling on the Regional Mycological Member Organizations and their members to work for the IMA in all of these areas. I certainly hope that you, the membership, will help us move the IMA and mycology forward to 2014.