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BH botanist receives funding to continue research on Black Hills mushrooms

Continuing a study that began two years ago, Dr. Audrey Gabel, professor of botany at Black Hills State University, will visit sites in the Black Hills this summer studying mushrooms and other fleshy fungi.

The summer's research work is funded by a $3,800 grant from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. She and research associate Elaine Ebbert have goals this summer of adding to the list of fungi collected, making statistical data comparisons between sites and years, photograph fungi, and prepare specimens for entry in the university's fungal collection.

Long-term objectives of the Black Hills fungi research include continuation of the study and fungi identification, making comparisons regarding fungi fruit which is infrequent and inconsistent, determine relationships between fungi and vegetation, fungi and moisture, and fungi and temperature. They also plan to monitor

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incidence of plant disease organisms, plant health and diversity, changes in the Black Hills Ecosystems and determine relationships between fungi and land use.

Five sites were selected as permanent sites for the long-term study. Other sites, however, will be studied but visited less frequently.

The researchers expect to collect many new species of fungi this summer. They will also have the weather records of 1998 and 1999 to compare temperature and moisture to species collected and to species present. Collected species will be presented to the South Dakota Natural Heritage data base and the university collection.

Ultimately, Gabel plans to complete a book titled Mushrooms and Related Fungi of the Black Hills. The book will include information describing fungi, fungal morphology, and collecting techniques. Descriptions, color photos and keys for identifications will also be included in the final edition.