The content of this website focuses on a group of soil-borne fungi found in almost any habitat worldwide. They partner with many plant species by colonizing roots and producing hyphae in the rhizosphere to facilitate uptake of nutrients (mostly immobile phosphorus) and to provide other benefits, either directly and indirectly. This mutually beneficial symbiosis is called an “arbuscular mycorrhizal” association with “arbuscular” referring to specialized fungal structures interfacing with the contents of root cortical cells and “mycorrhizal” referring to the fungus (myco) – root (rhizo) interaction. This particular mycorrhizal association began more than 400 million years ago with the first land plants and both partners have coevolved to the present day. As obligate symbionts, the fungi have evolved exclusively in their associations with host plants and so it is no surprise that they comprise a unique and separate evolutionary lineage now classified as the phylum Glomeromycota. The symbiosis has a sustainable net benefit to both partners, or they would have gotten a “divorce” long before now. This benefit can be physiological, nutritional, ecological or any combination of these processes. Therefore, exploiting and managing mycorrhizas has important and sustainable consequences for both agricultural and natural ecosystems.
The information herein is divided into four sections. The “collection” section documents infrastructure, staff, and outputs from collection operations. The “cultures” section documents the coding system for all stocks in the collection and a searcheable database of available stocks. The section on “fungi” informs on how these organisms are named and classified and includes individual pages documenting properties of all species in the collection. The “methods” section covers protocols used in the collection to manipulate, assess, and maintain fungi in the collection.
The long-term viability and sustainability of this collection (and most others) depends on funding agencies and the public understanding the various roles this resource plays in promoting research and teaching, in providing services that benefit academia, industry, and the public, and in disseminating information. It is not enough for the curator and staff to justify the collection’s existence because they have a vested interest. Rather, it is stories from users that provide powerful evidence of the collection’s significance in their lives and also afford examples of how the collection serves people and institutions with diverse backgrounds and interests. So it is here we fervently request that those of you who have benefited in any way from this collection tell us, in your own words, your story. We leave it in your hands to grant permission for us to post and share your story, but doing so would be providing a valuable service to us and other users. We would be immensely grateful for your input. An on-line form will be posted here shortly.