The collection of fungi, largest and most important in Estonia, was founded in 1950 by 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 studied. The internationally recognized acronym of the fungarium is TAAM.
The total number of the specimens in TAAM is about 189,000, including 7,750 specimens of exsiccata that were obtained mainly via exchange. TAAM 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. Ca 4000 spore samples have been taken in situ, which are included in TAAM sporotheca.
The key collectors are former mycologists of IZB: Erast Parmasto, Kuulo Kalamees, Ain Raitviir, and Leili Järva, Anu Kollom, Bellis Kullman, Urmas Kõljalg, Ilmi Parmasto, Peeter Põldmaa and Mall Vaasma.
There are about 500 type specimens, most of which have been described by the mycologists of the IZB. More than 700 mycological studies based on TAAM collections have been published. Mycotheca Estonica by E. Parmasto, Fasc. 1-3 (1957-1961) and Corticiaceae USSR by E. Parmasto, Fasc. 1-3 (1966-1969) are based on TAAM material. The mycologists of IZB 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 into the the official list of protected species (issued in 2004) and completation of the Estonian Red Data Lists of fungi (1998, 2008).
The first mycological expedition was made to 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 expeditions in mycologically uninvestigated remote regions of former Soviet Union (see the map of expeditions in Eurasia 1956-1992). E. Parmasto, A. Raitviir, K. Kalamees, as well as L. Järva, P. Põldmaa, M. Vaasma, I. Parmasto, B. Kullman, A. Kollom and other mycologists from former IZB participated in expeditions.
Certain places appeared to have rich and interesting funga, so these 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 the Republic of Sakha, Chukotka and Magadan Region, where it was often possible to only use river-ships or small airplanes for transportation.
The destination area of many collecting trips was in Central Asia, due to its habitats in mountains and deserts, where taxonomical investigations resulted with numerous 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 investigated. The deserts of Usbekistan and Turkmenistan were visited repeatedly mainly by agaricologists.
Several expeditions were organised to Russian Siberia, for example in 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 were quite difficult due to the deficiency of detailed 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 keeps those fruits carefully as well as offer them for scientific loans.
TAAM current activities
The main aim nowadays is to keep our collection open for potential users finding examples in databases and serving them scientific loans. About 109 000 specimen records have already been inserted in the web-based platform PlutoF, over 55% of total estimated specimens. The output is visible via http://elurikkus.ut.ee/index.php?lang=eng. Every year lending and exchange of specimens take place with 10-30 foreign institutions and universities. Public searching of fungal specimens for loans is open at https://natarc.ut.ee/en/seenekogud.php
Contact person (Curator):
Kadri Pärtel (Kadri.Partel@emu.ee.).
Address: Mycological Collection
Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Kreutzwaldi 5, EE51006 Tartu, Estonia
Phone: +372 7 311 895