Dr. Leacock with the help of the Illinois Mycological Association is continuing the documentation of fungi in the Chicago Region. Leacock works with colleagues on the long term nitrogen deposition study.
A Mycobiota for the Chicago Region
Toward the goal of assembling an online flora for the local macrofungi, Leacock has been compiling the Chicago Region Checklist, a database of taxon names, synonyms, and misapplied names from all collections and literature for the area, currently at 2,700 records. This database is cross-linked with the region’s research database and his taxonomy database of 17,350 names. More than 1,200 macrofungus species are estimated for the region: about 1,100 have been identified to species, at least 200 taxa known to genus, and an unknown number of unidentified species.
The research database of Chicago fungi is currently over 54,000 observation records for 1994 to 2017 (62% are plot-based observations). With colleagues at the Chicago Botanic Garden, we published the first of several new species. Few areas of the country have had such extensive long-term documentation of fungi.
Building upon this data set, the Northwest Indiana Restoration Monitoring Inventory (NIRMI.org), begun by colleagues at Indiana University Northwest, has included macrofungi, for three years, in its nested-plot vegetation sampling to assess sites undergoing restoration. Their data are shared publicly and the fungal specimens are deposited at The Field Museum.
Our twenty years of research and Illinois Mycological Association forays have utilized collection permits from the Forest Preserve Districts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, and Lake Counties (IL), the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the McHenry County Conservation District, and several State Natural Areas.
Dr. Leacock has surveyed the fungi from a dozen sites for the McHenry County Conservation District, 2011–2016, with the help of volunteers and county interns.