|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
No. 146 October 12, 1996
The South Vancouver Island Mycological Society will have its annual Wild Mushroom Show on Sunday, October 20, 1996 at the Swan Lake Nature Centre from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission free, but donations appreciated.
Mr. Ross MacDonald, former Director of the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, had a particular interest in biological control as an alternative to pesticide application and as part of overall plans for integrated pest management systems. On that note, he initiated the Microbial Biological Control of Forests Weeds Program in March, 1986, and assigned Charles Dorworth to investigate the matter.
By March 1996 the Program had expanded to seven researchers, four graduate students and supported approximately five B.C. university summer students annually. Federal Government "downsizing" has reduced the Program staff since that time.
The "product" of the Program is arranged in two categories for convenience:
Ron Wall (ret.) Donna Macey and Elaine Sela (ret.) will soon have a publication which presents the results of mating tests among isolates of Chondrostereum purpureum (Pers.:Fr.) Pouzar (Virulence and Infertility of Chondrostereum purpureum Isolates). Tod Ramsfield has had marked success in purification of mitochondrial DNA from C. purpureum and will complete his thesis on (among other things) population structure of the organism as elucidated from DNA comparisons. Carmen Oleskevich recently published a monograph on Ribes spp. and has developed a library of cultures of Fusarium spp. from Ribes spp. This work will forms the basis of her thesis.
The research of Drs. Thomas and Francesca Sieber-Canavesi was centered on endophytic fungi and their relationships to B.C. trees. This effort produced results which permitted the elaboration of a new philosophical assessment of the role of endophytes either as quiescent inhabitants or as potential plant pathogens and produced a number of excellent published works. The collaboration between Switzerland and Canada continues to produce scientific contributions.
A notable collection of soil bacteria (rhizobacteria) has been accumulated by Donna Macey of the PFC. Donna adapted the methods and the gas-chromatographic software developed in Rhode Island by MIDI Corp. to identify some 500 isolates of bacteria. Several of these have not been described and new records will appear in due course. The same chromatographic method (fatty-acid methyl ester chromatography) in combination with sterol analysis can be applied to fungi.
Dr. Richard Winder has described the ecological interaction between various fungi and northern reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis [Michaux] Beauv.) as affected by exudates from fallen litter (Can. Jour. Bot-in press) . He has also investigated the physiology of Fusarium avenaceum (Fr.) Sacc. and F. poae (Peck) Wollenweber. In addition, Leslie Manning, who operates the electron microscope laboratory and associated facilities, prepared specimens which reveal the mode of cell-wall penetration of Nectria ditissima Tul. and Melanconis marginalis (Peck) Wehmeyer.
Three U.S. patents have been issued and trademarks protected to permit commercialization of developments and inventions generated by the Program. A synopsis of those can be found in INFORMATION FORESTRY, August 1996, available from Pacific Forestry Centre (Joanne Stone, 604-363-0600). One of those developments (Chondrostereum purpureum) has been funded for transcontinental testing. An attempt is being made to register this organism with Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada as a commercial bioagent.
A justification for employing taxpayer dollars for mycological research may seem superfluous. Good fundamental research is, for many of us, its own justification. Forest vegetation management is necessary, however, as weeds are responsible for the loss of millions of dollars worth of forest replant operations nationwide. Pesticides are no longer an acceptable tool for weed management in many instances. Money spent for biocontrol research pays dividends to the taxpayers who contributed to the effort, and the point must be made from time to time. The PFC will be pleased to supply further information and copies of the many scientific and technical publications which have emanated from this work during the past 10 years.
During the course of a survey of plants within the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in south-central Washington, Kathryn Beck and Florence Caplow discovered a new, undescribed species of Lesquerella. In this article the new species is named L. tuplashensis and it is compared with L. douglasii, its nearest relative. The new species was first collected in 1883 but the specimens from that gathering are incomplete. Lesquerelle tuplashensis grows on the upper edge and upper face of the White Bluffs adjacent to the Columbia River. The only known population is found on the upper zone and top of near vertical exposure of cemented, highly alkaline calcium carbonate paleosol (a "caliche" soil). The population is approximately two to seven meters wide and extends for 17 km along the upper edge of the bluffs. - Congratulations, Kathy & Florence !
Abstract: Consultation with the elders from the Wet'suwet'en and Gitksan peoples of northwestern British Columbia revealed that morphological attributes of Sphagnum are used to select proper moss material for use as diapers. Long, pink (non-red) material of S. magellanicum was considered as correct for diapers while several other mosses, as well as the short, yellow-green and red Sphagna were considered inappropriate. A review of the literature suggests that red Sphagna are avoided by several indigenous groups for diapering needs.
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