Mycological Society of San Francisco - Event Information
MSSF General Meeting: Cancelled. MSSF is looking into the option to do a webinar for meetings that are cancelled due to the Corona Virus Situation
MSSF General Meeting
Each general meeting begins with mushroom identification, appetizers & wine tasting, then features a guest speaker on a selected mycological topic.
7 pm: Social time, meet & greet, downstairs in the Buckley Room. 8 pm: Main level Theater: Announcements, followed by the evening's presentation.
General meetings are open to the public.
Dedicated to Decay - How Wood-Decay Fungi Unravel the Fabric of Life
The bulk of biomass on Earth is plant material. Plant cell walls are composed in large part of cellulose and hemicellulose, making them the most abundant carbohydrates on Earth. In the process of decomposition, wood-decay fungi such as Laetiporus, Pleurotus and others, produce cellulolytic enzymes capable of breaking down these carbohydrates to simple sugars for metabolism. Cellulose and hemicellulose in wood cell walls are accompanied by lignin, a more chemically complex, polyphenolic compound. It adds rigidity and strength to the wall, and also serves to protect the carbohydrates from attack by cellulolytic enzymes. Wood-decay fungi have evolved lignolytic enzymes and a variety of other complex yet elegant methods to oxidize, demethylate and/or depolymerize lignin, giving them access to their carbohydrate food source.
Bob Cummings is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Santa Barbara City College. He taught courses in Botany for over 40 years, and retired from the classroom in 2012. He continues to develop and offer an online course in Plant Diversity.
Bob’s doctoral research at UC Santa Barbara in the mid-1970s involved tracking chemical changes in plasmodial slime mold cell surfaces during developmental stages of the life cycle.
He also found time away from the lab bench for frequent mushroom forays and photography, passions he pursues to this day. He has been leading forays, collecting, photographing, and eating wild mushrooms since the 1960s.
He fields calls from physicians and veterinarians and has worked for many years with local hospitals and clinics treating mushroom poisonings. He also serves on the North American Mycological Association Toxicology Committee. He is a frequent speaker and foray leader for such groups as the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara City College, Slow Food of Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Mycological Society and others. Bob is also a wine maker, producing 150 gallons of Merlot per year from central coast grapes. He lives in Montecito with his wife Lynne, a retired elementary school teacher (and bird-watcher), and daughter Carly, who is a student of classical voice at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.