The collection of fungi, the largest and most important in Estonia, was founded in 1950 at the Institute of Zoology and Botany (IZB) of the Estonian Academy of Sciences where the distribution, taxonomy and phylogeny of mainly pore and gill fungi, gasteromycetes and discomycetes was being studied For this purpose herbarium specimens were collected in Estonia. Also, more than 150 collecting trips were organized to Siberia, and to former Soviet Union's Far East, Central Asia, the Caucasus, as well as its European part were organized from 1956.
The internationally recognized acronym of the botanical and mycological herbarium is TAAM. The IZB was joined to the Estonian Agricultural University in 1997. Later (2005) it was split between different departments of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (IAES) of the newly renamed Estonian University of Life Sciences.
The total number of the specimens in TAAM is about 189,000, including 7,750 specimens of exsiccata obtained mainly via exchange and nearly 9000 specimens from Tartu University are deposited here. The herbarium is one of the most important collections of macromycetes of the northern part of Eurasia, and the most complete collection of Aphyllophoraceous fungi of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Mycophilous fungi are well represented, too. In recent decades, collecting trips have been made to other European countries, North America (incl. Greenland), Africa, Southern Asia and Australia.
Beside fungal vouchers of Estonian mycobiota collected since 1950, the specimens originating from diverse distant localities are kept in the TAAM collection. The first mycological expedition was made to the Transcarpathian region by Erast Parmasto 1956. A year later the second collecting trip was organized by E. Parmasto and Ain Raitviir to Komi ASSR in Russia. These first journeys were followed by ca 150 annual expeditions in mycologically uninvestigated remote regions in former Soviet Union (see the map of expeditions in Eurasia 1956-1992). From former Institute of Zoology and Botany participated in expeditions mycologists E. Parmasto, A. Raitviir, Kuulo Kalamees, as well as Leili Järva, Peeter Põldmaa, Mall Vaasma, Ilmi Parmasto, Bellis Kullman, Anu Kollom and others.
Certain places appeared to be highly rich of interesting fungal taxa and were visited repeatedly, e.g. Russian Far East in Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, especially in Kedrovaya Pad, Lazo, Ussuriysk and Bolshekhekhtshirsk Nature Reserves. Some unique expeditions were made to Republik of Sakha, Chukotka and Magadan Region, where it was often possible to use only river-ships or small airplanes for transportation.
The destination area of many collecting trips was Central Asia, due its habitats in mountains and deserts where taxonomical investigations resulted with many newly decribed species and genera (especially microfungi). The Tien-Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan (Terskey Ala-Too, Chatkal and Naryntau Ranges) were visited many times. In Tajikistan Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve, the Pamir Montains (Darvaz and Ishkashim Range) and Pamiro-Alai Montains (Hissar and Peter the First Range) were explored. The deserts of Usbekistan and Turkmenistan were visited in many years mainly by agaricologists.
Several expeditions were organised to Russian Siberia, for example to Taimyria or Altai Mountains and Transbaikal area. In 1970-s the mycobiota of Caucasian Nature Reserve was investigated in a special project.
The logistics of those expeditions was quite difficult due the deficiency of explicit maps, therefore many local people working in forestry or diverse research institutions contributed introducing the habitats, places for accommodation as well as arranging transport. Every specimen collected with such effort is valuable and our collection keep these fruits carefully as well as offer for scientific loans.
There are about 500 type specimens, most of which are collected and described by the mycologists of the IZB. Lending and exchange of specimens with some 25-30 foreign institutions and universities take place annually. Mycotheca Estonica by E. Parmasto, Fasc. 1-3 (1957-1961) and Corticiaceae USSR by E. Parmasto, Fasc. 1-3 (1966-1969) have been issued. More than 700 mycological studies based on TAAM collections have been published. The mycologists of IZB / IAES have completed 20 volumes of the series “Scripta Mycologica” and three fascicles of the distribution maps of Estonian fungi. Proposals have been made to include fungi to the the official list of protected species (drawn up in 2004) and compilation of the Estonian Red Data Lists of fungi (1998, 2008).
Owing to general agreement with the Museum of Natural History of Tartu University, about 79 000 specimen records have already been included in the joint database of fungi (http://elurikkus.ut.ee/index.php?lang=eng).
The main collectors of fungi in the TAA(M) have been: Leili Järva, Kuulo Kalamees, Veiko Kastanje, Anu Kollom, Bellis Kullman, Urmas Kõljalg, Erast Parmasto, Ilmi Parmasto, Kadri Põldmaa, Peeter Põldmaa, Kadri Pärtel, Ain Raitviir, Irja Saar, Indrek Sell, Mall Vaasma, Irma Zettur.
Contact persons (Curators):
Ilmi Parmasto ( Ilmi.Parmasto@emu.ee)
Kadri Pärtel (Kadri.Partel@emu.ee.).
Address: Mycological Herbarium,
Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia.
Phone: +372 7 311 895