This collection was the brainchild of Dr. Norman Schenck. A professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida and a long-time mycorrhizologist, Dr. Schenck had a vision to create a living culture collection to preserve valuable germplasm and make this germplasm available to researchers and the public. In 1985, he received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and created the International Culture Collection of VA Mycorrhizal Fungi (INVAM). He served as curator of the collection for five years until his retirement in 1990.
Upon Dr. Schenck’s retirement, there were 182 stocks in the collection and they were moved to West Virginia University and merged with a local collection maintained by Joe Morton. NSF continued to fund the collection at a level of about $100,000 per year (of which 42-46% of these funds is routed to the university for “overhead”).
INVAM was funded through the Division of Biological Infrastructure of the National Science Foundation because it is a living stock collection. In recent years, all collections, whether living or object-based, have been merged into this program and all are competing against each other for limited funds. This program now is called Collections in Support of Biological Research.
INVAM has been fortunate in receiving outstanding infrastructure support from the Davis College at West Virginia University. This has included (but not limited to) a dedicated greenhouse immediately adjacent to lab and office space, matching funds for a Nikon E600 research microscope, and most important of all, a full-time research assistant position occupied by a person who has been with the collection from 1990 to the present day. This support has been especially important during the past two years when CSBR greatly modified their program and instituted a biennial cycle for proposal solicitations. This led to a two year no-cost extension, during which time we have used residual funds from the 2007-2012 grant, funds collected from the sale of cultures, and funds from a Benedum award to operate the collection and fulfill our mission (see below).
- 1990-1995 with a one year budgeted extension in 1996
- 1997-2000 with a supplement in 2001
- 2012-2014 no-cost extension