Alberta Mycological Society Graduate Award

With the goal of enhancing fungal research, the Alberta Mycological Society (AMS) is excited to announce the Alberta Mycological Society Graduate Award with the University of Alberta (U of A).  This award is to be given to a student registered in a master’s or doctoral program with a focus on Fungal Biology. 

Beginning the 2021/2022 academic year, an incoming or existing MSc or PhD student is selected based on academic achievement and interest in the field of mycology/fungal studies as demonstrated through the student’s research project.  The award has been set at $2,000 per year.

The AMS is a non-profit organization committed to learning about mycology in Alberta and providing knowledge and great mushroom foray experiences to the public. This graduate award was proposed in 2020 by Bill Richards, who is a long time AMS member, a previous Foray Coordinator and has provided many years of service on the AMS Board. Bill had made immense contributions to major AMS events, such as the Annual Mushroom Exhibition at the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens, by collecting and identifying many, wonderful diverse fungi specimens for the public.

With the creation of this award, AMS wishes to inspire university students to pursue fungal research to foster an appreciation for fungi and their role in our ecosystem. The AMS hopes that many more people will become just as enthralled and interested in mushrooms as we are!

AMS has committed to funding this award at $2,000 per year for five years.  If donations towards this award exceed $50,000 in five years the funds will be placed in the Endowment foundation at the U of A enabling this award to be presented into perpetuity.  So, we encourage all members to donate.  Your donations are made directly with the U of A and a Taxable donation receipt will be issued by the U of A.  If the Endowment produces more than $2,000 per year there will be more than one award presented.

Click here or the picture of Alberta’s Leccinum boreale mushroom below to donate!

You can also contact Michelle Ngo, Assistant Director, Leadership Annual Giving from the U of A by telephone (780) 492-9487 or email to make a one-time or recurring donation by credit card or EFT transfers. Cheques can be written out to the “University of Alberta” and mailed to: University of Alberta, University Development, 3-501 Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB, T5J 4P6.

2021 Graduate Award Winner / Alejandro Huereca Delgado

Project: Unveiling the lichen flora and lichenicolous fungi.  Alejandro is a MSc Student in Biological Sciences on Toby Spribille’s team. His research is focused on detecting putative pollen-parasitic fungi associated with lichens in coniferous forests and alpine habitats of AB and BC. The Spribille Lab has evidence to suggest that such fungi have evaded detection until now in western Canada. If found to be widespread, such fungi could play a role in nitrogen cycling in nutrient-poor habitats.

2022 Graduate Award Winner / Nicole Lau

Project: Beyond mountain pine beetle: the influence of root associated fungi on soil carbon sequestration. Nicole is a MSc Student in Conservation Biology in the Department of Renewable Resources which is in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences. The focus of Nicole’s research is on how changes in mycorrhizal fungal communities, following mountain pine beetle disturbances, influence soil carbon storage.  Nicole is assessing aboveground plant communities and their below ground fungal partners in boreal forests. Root-associated fungi – mycorrhizal fungi – play diverse functional roles in boreal forests, including mediating carbon dynamics. By exploring these relationships, findings in this study could be used to help optimize soil carbon stocks and ecosystem services in recovering boreal forests.

2023 Graduate Award Winner / Dilini Adihetty

Project: Variation in the virulence, host resistance and fungicide sensitivity in the western Canadian Cochliobolus sativus. A pathogen that attacks barley. Dilini is a MSc Student/Research Assistant in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science. Western Canadian barley mainly comes from Alberta and is known for its high quality. Moreover, this region contributes to more than 95% of barley production in the nation (Barley Harvest Annual Report, 2022). However, foliar diseases such as spot blotch caused by the pathogen Cochliobolus sativus destroy healthy barley leaf area, thus limiting the plant’s ability to set yield and fill grain, ultimately resulting in yield and quality losses (Turkington et al., 2011). Crop rotation, fungicide treatments, and use of resistant varieties are the standard practices recommended against this pathogen. However, significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the current pathogen population variability in the western Prairie region limit the effectiveness of one or more of these management practices. Dilini’s research is mainly focused on characterizing the current C. sativus population in western Canada by assessing variability in relation to virulence, host resistance, fungicide sensitivity and host-pathogen interaction using infected leaf samples collected from fields in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

The use of the university logo is done with the permission of the University of Alberta.