Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada



General Description:

Students will be introduced to the different kinds of mushrooms and other large fungi that occur in the spring in the Sierra Nevada. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of macro- and micromorphological features, as well as ecological roles, to aid in the identification of taxa.

The daily class routine consists of an 8 -10 a.m. lecture followed by a field trip until approx. 3 p.m. Transportation on the field trips will be by car pooling. Upon return to the camp, collections will be examined and identified in the laboratory (3:30-6 p.m.) in collaboration with the instructor and a knowledgeable graduate student assistant. All equipment, microscope slides, cover slips and reagents required for accurate determination of specimens will be provided. In the evenings, several lectures and slide shows will be presented and the laboratory will be open for additional work on collections. If sufficient quantities of edible fungi are collected, they will be prepared for consumption and served to the class by the camp's chef.

Date of Period




June 2 - 7, 2019


1 Unit

Brian Perry


Brian Pery received a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 2006, where he worked on the systematics and evolution of the Ascomycete family Pyronemataceae. From there Brian went on to a postdoctoral position at San Francisco State University and then joined the faculty at the University of Hawaii in 2009 as an assistant professor of Biology. In 2013 Brian accepted a faculty position at California State University East Bay, finally making it back to California where he was born and raised. Brian has been studying fungal diversity, systematics and evolution since 1995. In addition to documenting the mushrooms and other fungi of Vanuatu, Dr. Perry's research focuses on the assembly, dynamics and biogeography of island fungal communities, endophytic fungi of Hawaiian plants, California fungi, the systematics of Mycena and allied genera and the evolution of fungal bioluminesence. Brian teaches both introductory and advanced courses in mycology at CSU East Bay. Brian may be contacted with this email address:  brian.perry@csueastbay.edu  His website is:  https://www.perrymycolab.com

Class Schedule

Participants should plan to arrive Sunday afternoon in time for dinner @ 6 pm and to attend an orientation lecture on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. The last class meeting ends at 12 p.m., Friday.

Supplies and Other Useful Items



  • Collecting basket
  • Wax paper
  • Small tackle box for collecting fragile and/or tiny specimens
  • Sturdy knife
  • A small hand cultivator or garden trowel (for digging truffles)
  • A 10X hand lens



Required Textbook

Spring Fungi of the Sierra Nevada, by D.E. Desjardin. The Instructor will have copies for purchase at SNFC. Please be sure to bring $25 cash or a personal check.

Additional Recommended Textbook

  • California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide, by D.E. Desjardin, M.G. Wood and F.A. Stevens, Timber Press, 2015. Order at Timber Press or Amazon. A limited number of copies may be available for purchase at the SNFC

Camping gear

  • Warm sleeping bag
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Camp chair
  • Bring your own tent or use tents with beds provided at the field campus


Days can range from cold to warm, while evenings are always quite cold (close to freezing). Clothing that can be layered for variable weather conditions is best. T-shirts and pants are often perfect during the day, with a fleece jacket and windbreaker/raincoat as backup. Long pants, warmer shirts, and a warm coat are necessary in the evening. Thermal underwear and rain gear are always worth bringing along. Sturdy hiking shoes/boots are necessary for the field trips, and comfortable shoes are nice to wear around camp. A sun hat, wool/thermal hat and gloves are also important. Shorts and a swimsuit may come in handy if the forecast calls for warm weather.