Our Staff

Patrick Leacock's picture
Adjunct Curator
Year Started: 
1997
Introduction: 

As a mycologist I study fungi, particularly macrofungi — the mushrooms, boletes, polypores, and other visible fungi that fruit above the ground. My particular interest is in the macrofungi that form beneficial associations with woody plants exchanging nitrogen and nutrients for carbon. These fungi form ectomycorrhizae — covering the short roots of particular trees and shrubs, such as oak and pine.

Fungi of the Chicago Region

My research with Greg Mueller, Peter Avis, and other colleagues covers multiple projects including: 1) determine the extent to which fungal communities and sensitive ectomycorrhizae are being impacted by airborne nitrogen pollution; 2) record the changes in a fungal community during oak woodland restoration, which uses controlled burns to reduce invasive plants; 3) document the diversity of fungi in the region to add to our knowledge of biogeography.