IMA Young Mycologist Awards 2011
It is with great pleasure that the IMA officers can now announce the winners of the first four of the inaugural International Mycological Association Young Mycologist Awards. The IMA Executive Committee had intended for then President Pedro Crous to present the awards last August at the XIV International Mycological Congress (IMC9) in Edinburgh. Alas, we learned that initiating the award process was far more complicated than we had foreseen. Now, with the process in place and functioning, we have received notification of the winners from Africa, Asia, Australasia, and North America. The committees for Europe and Latin America have been formed, and their winners will be reported in the first issue of IMA Fungus in 2012. All winners of the IMC9 round of IMA Young Mycologist Awards will receive their awards, which include a cheque for 500 €, at IMC10 in Thailand in 2014.
Please join me in congratulating the recipients: Marieka Gryzenhout (Ethel Mary Doidge Medal — African Regional Mycological Member Organization), Lei Cai (Keisuke Tubaki Medal — Asian Regional Mycological Member Organization), Ceri Pearce (Daniel McAlpine Medal — Australasian Regional Mycological Member Organization), and A. Elizabeth (‘Betsy’) Arnold (Arthur Henry Reginald Buller Medal — North American Regional Mycological Member Organization).
Ethel Mary Doidge Medal
Marieka Gryzenhout, starting with her first paper published soon after she began graduate school, and continuing through to her book on an important plant pathogenic fungi (Gryzenhout et al, 2009, Taxonomy, Phylogeny, and Ecology of Bark-Inhabiting Tree-Pathogenic Fungi in the Cryphonectriaceae. St Paul, MN: APS Press). Marieka has contributed enormously to our knowledge of fungi. As a young mycologist with energy and intelligence, she has already made an impact in Africa as well as internationally. Her research has been particularly concerned with Diaporthales, an order which includes a number of serious forest pathogens, including chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica. She also discovered additional pathogens that threaten forests, and has determined the relationships between these species, describing new species and new genera where warranted, and also connecting sexual and asexual morphs. Marieka is also now investigating other plant pathogens, such as species of Phytophthora. She has assumed roles in several scientific societies, most spectacularly as the founding editor of the African Mycological Association (AMA) newsletter MycoAfrica, and is also now a member of the Executive Committee of the International Mycological Association (IMA). One of those supporting her nomination for this Medal commented that Marieka “represents the bright future for mycology in Africa.”
Keisuke Tubaki Medal
Lei Cai is an outstanding young mycologist in China. He has been working on the systematics and biodiversity of fungi from aquatic, coprophilous, and thermophilic habitats for many years. He has examined more than 5000 specimens, which has led to the discovery and descriptions of five new genera, and 45 new species. He is currently focusing on the systematics of plant pathogenic fungi using a polyphasic approach, and already has an impressive research record which includes one monograph, two book chapters, and 54 peer-reviewed papers.
For his excellent performance in mycological research, Lei Cai was awarded the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) “Hundred-Talent Program”. He has also made significant contributions in promoting mycological studies in China and elsewhere in Asia. As Executive Associate Editor, he has played a key role in establishing and managing the new international journal, Mycology; he also serves as an associate editor of Fungal Diversity. He is an active educator in mycology who has given lectures at various international workshops or courses in the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Daniel McAlpine Medal
Ceri Pearce was selected by the Australasian IMA Regional Mycological Organization for this Medal based on her research and major contributions to the mycological community. Her PhD research, which centred on the biology and taxonomy of Australian fungi, resulted in a book on Phyllachoraceae in Australia. More recently, with her research now focusing on the increasingly important area of biosecurity, she has been involved in the development of diagnostic and emergency response systems for exotic and introduced pests in Australia. Ceri has contributed to the mycologicsl community through her roles in mycology organizations, which includes the Australasian Mycological Society (executive councillor and librarian, 1998–2002), Australasian Plant Pathology Society (executive councillor 2005–2007, and co-chair of the Regional Councillor Working Group, 2005–2008. In addition, she won the bid and successfully co-organised the 8th International Mycological Congress (IMC8) in Cairns in 2006, which was the first time that an IMC had been held in the Southern Hemisphere. Finally, Ceri has been involved in numerous mycological educational and training programmes, both within her own organization and to agricultural industries, peers, and school students.
Arthur Henry Reginald Buller Medal
A. Elizabeth (‘Betsy’) Arnold received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2002 from the University of Arizona where she worked with Lucinda McDade. From 2003–2004, she was supported by a prestigious NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Microbial Biology with sponsorship from François Lutzoni at Duke University. Betsy joined the faculty in the Division of Plant Pathology and Microbiology in the Department of Plant Sciences at the UA in 2005, where she is now an Associate Professor. Betsy currently teach courses in microbial diversity, plant sciences and mycology, curates the Robert L. Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium, and conducts research on the ecology, evolution and systematics of plant-associated fungi. She is best known for her innovative work in evolution and ecology of endophytes of terrestrial ecosystems. Her work is truly global in scale with sampling occurring along continental transects. It has resulted in our most complete understanding of the biodiversity and distribution of endophytic fungi and the World’s largest culture collection of endophytes. Betsy is a much sought after speaker across a spectrum of life science conferences, is an active member of the Mycological Society of America, and one of mycology’s biggest advocates. It is with great pride that North American mycologists acknowledge Betsy Arnold and her contribution to mycology with this Award.
Distinguished Asian Mycologist Award
Kevin D. Hyde was given the award of Distinguished Asian Mycologist in August 2011 at the Asian Mycological Congress for his services in promoting Asian Mycology. Since 2008 Kevin has been Head and Associate Professor of the Institute of Excellence in Fungal Research, School of Science, Mae Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand and is also Managing Director of the Mushroom Research Foundation in Chiang Mai.
He has held numerous prestigious positions in Asian mycological organizations, including EASIANET (of BioNet International) (Coordinator 2004–2007), Mycological Association of Hong Kong (Chair, 2002–2007), and IMA Asian Mycological Committee (Chair, 2007–2011). He founded and edited Fungal Diversity, a journal now pre-eminent in its field, and has been involved as an editor of about ten other journals. A prolific researcher, with over 600 publications and 15 books to his credit, Kevin’s real passion is in training students — he has supervised some 20 postdoctoral fellows, over 60 PhD students, and 15 MPhil students who have been drawn from Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, India, and Kenya.
Kevin obtained his PhD from the University of Portsmouth, UK, under the direction of E. B. Gareth Jones, in 1987. He first worked as a school teacher in Basingstoke, UK, and then Brunei, before moving to Australia where he surveyed plant pathogens in north Queensland and Papua New Guinea where he became fascinated by tropical microfungi. He subsequently obtained a tenured lectureship in the University of Hong Kong where he was based for 15 years before moving to Thailand. The Mushroom Research Foundation which he established also provides scholarships for PhD’s in mycology. Kevin strives to mould each of his students into renowned mycologists in their own right, and two of the first IMA Young Mycologists Awards now made are to his previous students, Ceri Pearce and Lei Cai (see above).
It is difficult to conceive of a more fitting recipient of this special award, and mycologists world-wide join in extending Kevin our congratulations and thanks for all he has done and continues to do for mycology. One of his current PhD students at Mae Fah Luang University, Samantha Karunarathna adds: “In Dr Hyde’s laboratory, we are budding mycologists, who have been taught, trained and mentored by Dr Hyde and would like to wish Dr Hyde all the very best and good luck in his endeavours to train and mould mycologists to salvage the world of mycology which is in dire need of many more mycologists.”
Jiang-Chun Wei’s 80th
Jiang-Chun Wei celebrated his 80th birthday on 6 November 2011. Born in Xianyang city, Shaanxi Province, China, his childhood to1945 was during World War II, and his middle-school life from 1945–1949 was the time of the Civil War of China. He majored in plant pathology at the Northwest Agricultural College from 1950, at a time when gene theory was opposed in China, but he never gave up his belief in science, for example, consulting the famous professor Sheng-Han Shi on the disease pathway of stripe rust of wheat from physiological and biochemical aspects. After graduating in 1955, Jiang-Chun was sent to work in the Institute of Agricultural Biology of Northwest China, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The first project for him was smut disease of millet, guided by the myco-pathologist Jian-Yi Li. Then in 1956 he was dispatched to the CAS Institute of Applied Mycology in Beijing where he studied the systematics of rust fungi on Rosaceae under the guidance of the mycologist Yun-Zhang Wang. In 1958, however, he was sent to Russia to finish his PhD degree under the guidance of the lichenologist Savicz at the Komarov Botanical Institute, in what was then Leningrad (now St Petersburg). He was soon publishing on lichens in Umbilicariaceae, a passion that stayed with him from that time, obtained his PhD in 1962, and then returned to China. This time that was to the recently established CAS Institute of Microbiology in Beijing where he commenced work on the Chinese lichen biota in the Institute’s Laboratory of Mycology. His research career, however, was soon disrupted by an enforced absence from the Institute for ten years for the duration of the ‘Cultural Revolution’, after which he returned to the Institute of Microbiology, where he was Director of the Open Laboratory of Systematic Mycology and Lichenology (1985–1993) — the title of the laboratory reflecting his personal interests and which was one of the first in the world to embrace lichen-forming along with other fungi. Further, Jiang-Chun was the founding coeditor of Mycosystema (1986–1993). He also served as President of the Mycological Society of China (1993–2003), of which he was then made an Honorary President, and in 1995 he was awarded the degree of DSc by the Komarov Botanical Institute. To date, he has published 107 research papers, and also eight books, including An Enumeration of Lichens in China (1991, Beijing International Science Publishers) and a monograph of his beloved Umbilicariaceae in Asia (with Jiang Yumei, 1993, The Asian Umbilicariaceae (Ascomycota), Beijing International Science Publishers).
A celebration in his honour was held at the Institute of Microbiology on his birthday, where he gave a lecture ‘A glance back and prospect at my age of eighty’ and enjoyed a huge celebratory cake. Jiang-Chung has been an inspiration to numerous students and fellow researchers in China, both for his vision, perseverance, and scientific contributions, and I feel honoured to have been privileged to know him and enjoy his hospitality in Beijing. All mycologists, including lichenologists, wish him a productive and fulfilling time.
Xin Li Wei (Key Laboratory of Systematic Mycology and Lichenology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing) kindly provided much of the background information and photograph presented here.
Aino Marjatta Henssen (1925–2011)
A leading lichen taxonomist and systematist, Aino passed away on 29 August 2011. She was born on 12 April 1925 in Elberfeld, Germany, and had a German father and Finnish mother. She enroled at university to become a teacher, but due to her enthusiasm for research she graduated in 1953 with a doctoral thesis in plant physiology. After working in Bonn and Berlin at agricultural institutes investigating microorganisms decomposing manure, she started to work taxonomically — describing two new actinomycete genera and several new species. Following visits to Helsinki and Uppsala in 1956–61she turned her focus onto lichen fungi, inspired by the Swedish school of ascomycete systematics led by Johan Axel Nannfeldt, who had introduced ascoma development as a major character complex in ascomyete classification. Aino’s revision of the families Lichinaceae and Ephebaceae (1963, Symbolae Botanicae Upsaliensis 18 (1): 1–123) is a prime example of this type of work, illustrated by numerous photographs of sections showing developmental stages. A decade later her textbook Lichenes: Eine Einführung in die Flechtenkunde (with her former PhD student Hans Martin Jahns, 1973Footnote 1, Stuttgart: Georg Thieme) she presented a classification that fully integrated lichenized with non-lichenized fungi, and introduced the “Zwischengruppe” for fungi that did not conform to the classical concepts of Nannfeldt; this was a remarkable work which presented ontogenetic data on all major groups based on her observations, which included many new findings, and descriptions of all families and orders she accepted
In 1963 Aino was appointed curator of the herbarium at the Philipps-University in Marburg, and in 1970 as Associate Professor, a position she held until her retirement in 1990. Aino’s enthusiasm for lichens and other fungi attracted many students, and she continued her research as long as health permitted, with her last paper being published in 2007. In a series of more than 120 publications, she described three orders (Arthoniales, Gyalectales, Lichinales), three families (Coccocarpiaceae, Coccotremataceae, Gloeoheppiaceae), 21 genera, and over 150 new species, as well as numerous new combinations, often as a part of critical generic revisions. However, one of her mostcited works is her 1976 study with Peter W. James demonstrating by critical microscopic work that different morphologies could be produced by the same fungus depending on whether it has a cyanobacterial or a green-algal partner (in Brown DH et al. (ed.), Lichenology: progress and problems: 27–77, London: Academic Press). She was also the first researcher to appreciate the diversity of melanized non-lichenized rock-inhabiting fungi, describing many in Lichenothelia.
Her 65th birthday was marked with a ‘Festschrift’ (Jahns HM (ed.), 1990, Bibliotheca Lichenologica 38: 1–427), and she was awarded the Acharius Medal of the International Association for Lichenology (IAL) in 1992. She will be remembered as a scientist who understood and pursued lichenology as a field of its own but also as an integral part of mycology.
Prepared from a draft kindly provided by Heidi Döring (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK), and a PDF of a fuller obituary prepared along with H. T. Lumbsch which is to appear in The Lichenologist in 2012.
Zang Mu (1930–2011)
Zang Mu, one of the best-known Chinese macromycetologists, who was born on 28 December 1930, passed away on 10 November 2011, aged 81. A graduate from Soochow University, he worked at Nanjing Normal University as a teacher from 1954–1973, when he moved to the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). As a research fellow in mycology and bryology, his major interests focused on systematics, ecology, and geography of fungi. He also studied mycorrhizas and their application in afforestation. He established the cryptogamic herbarium of KIB, and served as curator for many years. Other positions he was appointed to include that of Vice-President of the Mycological Society of China, and Vice-Director of the Key Laboratory of Mycology and Lichenology of CAS in Beijing. He published over 150 papers on the fungi of China, and also several monographs, including the well-illustrated and remarkable [Economic Macrofungi from Southwestern China] (with Ying JZ, 1994, Beijing: Science Press), and had only this year completed [Dictionary of the Families and Genera of Chinese Cryptogams (Spore Plants)] (with Li XJ, 2011, Beijing: Higher Education Press).
Zang Mu twice received the second-class Award in National Scientific and Technological Progress (1993, 1995), a second-class prize in China’s State Natural Science Award (2003), and also the N. Hiratsuka Award of the Mycological Society of Japan (2003). Besides mycology and bryology, he was also very interested in Chinese calligraphy, paintings, and collecting stamps. He contributed his full energy to the development of mycology and relative research fields in China, and is also warmly remembered for his kindness and hospitality to numerous visiting mycologists from overseas. China has lost a great mycologist, whose exceptional knowledge of Chinese mushrooms will be sorely missed.
Prepared from material supplied by Liu Peigui and Zhu L. Yang (Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China).
1This work is dated “1974” but was actually published on 6 December 1973. Aino was always very concerned to point this out to show that her classification came out before that adopted by Josef Poelt (in Ahmadjian V, Hale ME (eds), 1974, The Lichens: 599–632, New York: Academic Press) — and which is dated “1973” but actually appeared on 25 March 1974.