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Send to a Fungarium

General Considerations

Mailing your Package

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General Considerations


Legal and ethical considerations

You may be required to submit copies of collecting permits with your specimens. Many managed natural areas, such as state and national parks or nature reserves, require permits for collecting and may place restrictions on the quantity of biological material and the species that can be collected. 

  • Most fungaria will not accept collections that require a permit (e.g., collections from within a National Park) without a copy of that permit; some permits put conditions or how specimens are deposited and stored, information your partner fungarium must also know. Many fungaria will also not accept specimens of species known to be highly endangered, to discourage collection that might have a negative impact on those species. 
  • Copies of applicable permits should accompany all specimens whose collection was made under those permits. Lack of permits for collections that should have had them may keep you from being able to deposit your collections.

Specimen quality

Most fungaria do not charge to deposit specimens or to study those specimens. Since they tend to bear the financial and curatorial responsibility for the specimens they house, they generally only want to add high quality material — this means material for which there is maximum potential for future scientific value. 

  • A high-quality specimen is one that is prepared according to best practices for the type of specimen represented, has an accurate and complete label, and is as complete as possible, meaning that the biological material exhibits all the features that are used to identify it and distinguish it from other species. 
  • Inclusion of good “metadata,” such as good quality images of the living specimen and field notes on ephemeral features increases the scientific value of the collection. Including your field data slip and a printed voucher slip adds to this value.
  • Be sure to include sufficient biological material so that the fungus can be sufficiently characterized in order to identify it or confirm its identity. The exact amount of material required varies depending on type of fungus but ideally contains multiple mature sporocarps and immature ones, or buttons, as well.   
    • For a large, durable polypore, a segment of the fruiting structure is sufficient. 
    • For a tiny and delicate fungi such as a Mycenas, multiple fruiting bodies are needed. 
      • However, separately wrap and identify the specimen sequenced and put it in the bag with the others. That way, if the specimens weren’t identical, as can be the case with Hygocybes, there is a way to identify the specific specimen that was sequenced.


Mailing your Package

Download a spreadsheet

Most collections will require a particular structure to the collection data. Send your partner fungarium/herbarium a copy of your spreadsheet before finalizing it to be sure that you are including the information they require, and formatting according to their standards. 

  • Spreadsheet
    • Instructions for exporting CSV spreadsheets from iNaturalist and Mushroom Observer are described at Submit Tissue for Sequencing
    • Email the file to your fungarium contact and also include a hard copy with your specimens if requested.
  • Specimen Name
    • Some fungaria may have restrictions on accepting undetermined or partially determined material; make sure you discuss this in advance with your partner collection if your deposit includes specimens not identified to genus.
    • Typically, fungaria require that specimens be identified to genus or species, with authors of the names (provided automatically  by iNaturalist and Mushroom Observer), and the name of the person who identified the collection. 
    • Labels 
      • If you used FunDiS field data slips, include your original slip with each specimen. 
      • You can also include printed labels. Instructions for printing labels from iNat or MO are at Dry Your Specimens.
      • Some fungaria may provide you with numbered adhesive labels in advance..
  • Special
    • Some fungaria will accept a spore print enclosed with your voucher slip and label. Ask about their preference.
    • Some fungaria have requirements about including desiccant with your collections.

Shipping

When you are ready to ship your voucher collections, email your fungarium contact and attach the CSV spreadsheet. Then mail the specimens:

Your box should include:

  • Dried specimens stored in resealable bags, with a copy of  the field data slip and printed voucher label in the bag. Consult with your fungarium on the method they prefer.
  • Specimens placed in a good quality box with sufficient padding so the specimens will not shift in transport.
  • A note including your name, return address, contact info (email and phone), the taxonomic group (at minimum, “Fungi”), the number of specimens in the box, and any information specifically requested by your partner fungarium. This doesn’t need to be formal, but should be printed for clarity.
  • A printed copy of the CSV spreadsheet described above if your fungarium also requires it.

Shipping Library Rate

  • A shipment to a herbarium/fungarium should qualify for the highly discounted Library Rate when shipping via US Postal Service. The rules can be found in Section 2.2 here. They allow individuals to use the special rate to ship to a library or herbarium/fungarium. But many mail clerks are unfamiliar with the regulation.
    • Print and tape this verbiage to on the outside of your package “LIBRARY MAIL:  Postal regulations (DMM 173 5.0 / 273 4.0) specify that museums, including herbaria, may ship specimens by Library Mail. This package contains dried herbarium specimens and may be opened for postal inspection if necessary.”
    • You are allowed to enclose the spreadsheet associated with specimens (a “catalogue of materials”) may be included under USPS rules. Personal correspondence belongs in a First Class envelope on the outside of the package. 

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