Longcore earns Distinguished Mycologist Award from national organization

World-renowned University of Maine scientist Joyce Longcore received the 2022 Distinguished Mycologist Award, one of the highest honors granted by the Mycological Society of America. 

The annual award recognizes scientists with distinguished careers in mycology research or service in the field, according to the national organization. 

Longcore has spent decades studying various species of microscopic, aquatic fungi from a group called Chytridiomycota, also known as chytrids. She isolates them into pure culture, examines their developmental morphology with a light microscope, collaborates with colleagues to identify their molecular characteristics and characterizes their taxonomy. 

In 1997, Longcore investigated infected tissue from a blue poison dart frog sent by pathologists from the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and was able to isolate a chytrid pathogen from that tissue into pure culture. This work led Longcore and her colleagues to describe the chytrid that is responsible for widespread amphibian die-offs worldwide. 

Longcore previously maintained a frozen culture collection of hundreds of chytrids, which is now housed at the Collection of Zoosporic Eufungi at the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology. 

For her research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) elected Longcore as an AAAS Fellow in 2012 and in 2017, awarded her, as well as her colleagues from the Smithsonian National Museum, the Golden Goose Award, which recognizes people doing federally funded research who have made unexpected and incredible scientific breakthroughs. In 2003, Longcore received the Maryann Hartman Award, presented by what is now the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program to honor Maine women who made inspirational achievements. 

Learn more about Longcore’s background and accomplishments online.

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; marcus.wolf@maine.edu