6 Mycologists you should know

John Uncategorized 18 Comments

It can be a rough start jumping suddenly into the world of mycology. It can seem…overwhelming at times. It doesn’t have to be this way. It actually is quite easy to pick up as long as you’re paying attention to the right people and joining the right communities.

Locating these people may be difficult when you’re  starting out, so that’s why I’ve put together this list of influencers in the mycological community. Let’s get started!

1. Gary Lincoff

The author of several different mushroom identification field guides and other publications, his contributions to the world of mycology includes consistent mushroom hunting classes and walks that he hosts in New York City.

He’s most notable contribution is probably the “Audobon Society Guide to North American Mushrooms”; a great read though it may be a tad outdated, it contains tons of great images. Check out his site/blog at garylincoff.com

2. Michael Kuo

An English teacher and renowned amateur mycologist, he has been a prominent contributor to mushroom taxonomy for many years. He’s written a couple of books including “Morels” and “100 edible mushrooms”.

His website mushroomexpert.com is his ongoing contribution and you can learn tons just by his browsing his friendly and easy to read website. Comes complete with keys and small doses of dry humor throughout.

3. Rod Tulloss

Want to learn about the family Amanitaceae specifically? Well, then, Tulloss is the name you should remember. He is one of the most notable contributors to the family and also amanitaceae.org.

On the front page he dedicates the website to Dr. Cornelias Bas who “transformed the study of Amanita”. Tulloss has built upon the groundwork that Bas established and continues to develop it. You can also donate to keep the site going which I encourage because who else is supporting other than us mycophiles?


4. Paul Stamets

If you haven’t heard of him before, then you must be REALLY new to the mushroom world. Probably the most notable mycologist listed on this blog post, Mr. Stamets’s contributions are myriad.

Among discovering and coauthoring several new species over his 40+ year career in mycology and taxonomy, he’s received numerous awards like the 1998 Bioneers award and, Founder of a New Northwest Award in 1999. In 2014 he received the NAMA (North American Mycological Association) award for expanding the field of mycology for amateurs and professionals. In the same year, Paul was chosen to be an “Invention Ambassador” by the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS).

The list goes on for this “Myco Titan”. He’s the founder of ‘Fungi Perfecti’ where mushroom products are sold ranging from anything like supplements, to home and garden supplies, to laboratory equipment. Check it out at fungi.com

5. Alan Rockefeller

An extremely active and helpful amateur mycologist. Calling him amateur may not even be fair. He’s the largest contributor to mushroomobserver.org and specializes in mushroom taxonomy and DNA sequencing.

He was originally a network security expert but decided to leave and study mushrooms instead. He is a moderator for shroomery.org and is very active in mushroom related facebook groups where he also moderates a few.

He does an honorable job of supplying ID’s for the community and believes it’s important for trusted identifiers like himself to deter people from misinformation and from mistakes that may result in death or injury. He’s probably saved a few lives while also illuminating the fungal genome for us all; a thankless job.

6. Peter Mccoy

Peter is another amateur mycologist who you should be paying attention to. He’s been amateur for about 15+ years and is one of the founders of Radical Mycology, an organization that teaches skills related to working with mushrooms in sustainable and ecologically minded ways.

His newest book titled “Radical Mycology” is one of the more modern books printed on the subject of accessible mycological cultivation techniques and sustainability. He is from Portland Oregon, and continues to educate others via interviews and podcasts. There are plenty of links to them on his website radicalmycology.com

7. Tom Volk

Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse since the 80’s, Volk’s contributions to professional and amateur mycology are substantial. His website has been a go-to for years for anyone wanting to learn mycology. Because his credentials speak for himself, here’s a link describing his history including his publications, research, and teaching accomplishments.


He struggled with multiple health issues like Hodgkin’s disease, which lead to an enlarged heart and arrhythmia as a result of chemotherapy radiation. He had to have a heart transplant and he talks about his amazing story in this youtube video by CNN ireport.

He continues to teach at the university.

If you think I’ve missed something like any other mushroom experts, please leave a comment!


Comments 18

    1. Post


      Thanks for commenting. I’m a huge fan of your work.

      This list is a very introductory one. It’s just that these names are some of the most prominent in terms of what’s on the internet. Forgive me for my biases bleeding through.

      Maybe I should do a list of prominent “Female” mycologists.

      Thanks for pointing this out to me.


      1. or you should edit this blog post to include female folks , and not separate them into a separate category ? a mycologist is a mycologist . . .

      2. Hi John, I’m a dedicated amateur mycologist and founder of the Philadelphia Mycology Club who stumbled on this article while working on a post for The Mycoflora Project regarding women mycologists. I’m glad that your response to the female question was one of openness and not defensiveness. I would like to respectfully point out that female mycologists like Else Vellinga and Jean Lodge are extremely important and dedicated contemporary mycologists whom no one has ever heard of, while Paul Stamets is viewed by laypeople as the father of current Mycology, despite selling overpriced medical supplements that have not yet been proven to work via peer review. Volk and Tulloss deserve to each be up here 5 times. Peter McCoy and Alan Rockefeller are wonderful men who have expanded the hobbyist circles but still have contributed quantifiably less than someone like Else Vellinga. Rockefeller himself has told me how honored he feels when he is able to hunt and learn with Else.

        I hope in the future you will continue to look into female mycologists, as they have been underappreciated in quantifiable ways since the beginning of the field.

        Thanks for your nice blog!

        1. Post


          Thank you for the well thought out comment. I am sending you an email on this topic and I am looking forward to your reply!

      3. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this list. If there were any notable female mycologists, they would be on here or… somewhere? but there aren’t any and that’s ok.

    2. Wow really? You’re not concerned about who has correct information so new foragers don’t poison themselves, you’re concerned about what set of genitals they have?

      1. Love the comment. Couldn’t agree more. Arleen Bessette (sp?) comes to mind though. She’s top notch. But yes the gender argument is a tired and frustrating one.

  1. I’m a contractor working on a new startup to provide resilient, sustainable, affordable housing.
    I’m looking for any connections to mycologists working on building materials.

    Thank you,
    Barbara Elizabeth Ricketts MCR UDCP
    Kinfolk Unlimited
    ReThink Your Concept of Home

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