Gregory M. Mueller, Ph.D.

Gregory M. Mueller
Chief Scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President of Science
(847) 835-8226
Curriculum Vitae: 
Teaching and Research Affiliations: 
  • Fulbright Senior Fellow, Fulbright Scholar Program, 2008
  • Lecturer, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago
  • Adjunct professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Adjunct professor, Biological Sciences, Northwestern University
  • Research associate, Department of Botany, The Field Museum
Selected Professional Associations: 
  • Member, Steering Committee, International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission
  • Chair, “Mushrooms, Brackets, and Puffballs” Specialist Group, International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission
  • Member, Science Advisory Council for the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy
  • Member, Mayor’s (Chicago) Nature and Wildlife Committee
  • Member, Executive Council, Chicago Wilderness Alliance
  • Served as president of the Mycological Society of America and as international coordinator for fungal programs at the Costa Rican National Biodiversity Institute
Research Interests: 
  • Systematics, diversity, biogeography, ecology, and population biology of mushrooms and other macrofungi
  • Conservation of fungi
  • Mycorrhizas

My research and training programs focus on the systematics, biogeography, ecology, population biology, and conservation of higher fungi, especially mushrooms and other macrofungi. My postdocs, graduate students, collaborators and I have been documenting the worldwide diversity and distribution of fungi and the factors influencing these patterns. Thus, in addition to spearheading survey and inventory projects in China and Latin America and undertaking monographic studies of Laccaria – Hydnangium clade, Cantharellaceae, and other model taxa, I have been investigating how fungi respond to anthropogenic stress and restoration efforts in the Chicago area and conservation practices in Costa Rica and China. Because some fungi, especially those that form ectomycorrhizas, appear to be negatively affected by pollution, they are a good group to use to monitor the impact of environmental change on forests.

I also have been active in developing and publishing protocols for quantitative sampling of fungi to facilitate their inclusion in conservation and biodiversity initiatives. We have recently initiated population- level studies to investigate conservation-related questions in macrofungi, i.e., size and age of individuals, the role of spores versus clones for maintenance of populations, barriers to geneflow, etc. Finally, I am interested in developing biodiversity informatics tools to build ID tools and serve biodiversity data to diverse publics. For example, I was the project director of the vPlant project, and am the coordinator of the Global Fungal Red List Initiative.

Selected Publications: 

Wilson, A.W., M.C. Aime, J. Dierks, G.M. Mueller, T.W. Henkel.  2012. Craterellus and Cantharellus in Guyana I. New species, distribution records, and a synopsis of known taxa. Mycologia 104: 1466-1477.

Dahlberg, A. and G.M. Mueller.  2011. Applying IUCN Red Listing Criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species.  Fungal Ecology 4: 147-162.

Keirle, M.R., P.G. Avis,  D.E. Deesjardin,, D.E. Hemmes, and G.M. Mueller .  2010.  Geographic origins and phylogenetic affinities of the putative Hawaiian endemic Rhodocollybia laulaha. Mycotaxon 112: 463-473.

Keirle, M.R., P.G. Avis, D.E. Hemmes, and G.M. Mueller.  Limited divergence in the spatially subdivided island population of the Hawaiian mushroom Rhodocollybia laulaha.  Botany (in-press).

Wilson, A.W., K. Hosaka, B. Perry, and G.M. Mueller.  Laccaria (Agaricomycetes, Basidiomycota) from Tibet (Xizang Autonomous Region, China).  Mycoscience (in-press)

McFarland, J. and G. M. Mueller. 2009. Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide. University of Illinois Press. Champaign, IL, 256 pp.

Avis, P. G., G. M. Mueller, and J. Lussenhop. 2008. Ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in two North American oak forests respond at larger spatial scales to nitrogen addition. New Phytologist 179:472–483.

Lumbsch, H. T., P. K. Buchanan, T. W. May, and G. M. Mueller, eds. 2008. Phylogeography and biogeography of fungi. Mycological Research 112:423-484.

Mueller, G. M. and J. P. Schmit. 2007. Fungal biodiversity: What do we know? What can we predict? Biodiversity and Conservation 16:1-5.

Hawksworth, D. L. and G. M. Mueller. 2005. Fungal communities: Their diversity and distribution. The Fungal Community: Its Organization and Role in the Ecosystem, 3rd ed. J. Dighton, J. White, and P. Oudemans, eds. CRC Taylor and Francis, New York, pp. 27-37.

Schmit, J. P., G. M. Mueller, Y.-Q. Huang, P. R. Leacock, J. L. Mata, and Q.-X. Wu. 2005. Assessment of tree species richness as a surrogate for macrofungal species richness. Biological Conservation 121:99-110.

Halling, R. E. and G. M. Mueller. 2005. Common Mushrooms of the Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica. New York Botanical Garden Press, New York, 197 pp.

Fischbein, C. S. Aks, and G. M. Mueller. 2004/2005. Mushroom poisoning. Pediatric Toxicology: Diagnosis and Management of the Poisoned Child. Erickson, T. B., W. R. Ahrens, S. E. Aks, C. R. Baum, and L. Ling, eds. McGraw-Hill Press, pp. 533-540.

Mueller, G. M., G. F. Bills, and M. S. Foster, eds. 2004. Biodiversity of Fungi: Inventory and Monitoring Methods. Elsevier Academic Press, San Diego, Calif., 777 pp.

Moskovits, D. K., C. Fialkowski, G. M. Mueller, and T. A. Sullivan. 2002. Chicago Wilderness: A new force in urban conservation. Annals of Missouri Botanical Garden 89:153-163.

Mueller, G. M., Q.-X. Wu, Y.-Q. Huang, S.-Y. Guo, R. Aldana Gomez, and R. Vilgalys. 2001. Assessing biogeographic relationships between North American and Chinese macrofungi based on molecular data. Journal of Biogeography 28:271-281.

Schmit, J. P., J. F. Murphy, and G. M. Mueller. 1999. Macrofungal diversity in a temperate oak forest: A test of species richness estimators. Canadian Journal of Botany 77:1014-1027.

Graduate Students: 
Lynnaun Johnson (Ph.D. Student, Northwestern University)
Chen Ning (M.S. student, Northwestern University)
Rui Zhang (Ph.D. student, Northwestern University)
Laura Briscoe (M.S. student, Northwestern University)
Sara Branco (Ph.D. 2010, University of Chicago)
Kelly Gravier (Ph.D. 2009, University of Chicago)
Matthew Kierle (University of Chicago, Ph.D. 2008)
Jutta Buschbom (University of Chicago, Ph.D. 2003)
Laura Gúzman Dávalos (UNAM, Mexico, Ph.D. 2003)
Andrew Miller (University of Illinois at Chicago, Ph.D. 2003)
John Paul Schmit (University of Chicago, Ph.D. 1999)
Juan Luis Mata (University of Costa Rica, M.S. 1998)
Loengrin Umaña Tenorio (University of Costa Rica, Licenciatura, 1995)
Milagro Mata Hidalgo (University of Costa Rica, Licenciatura, 1995)
Andrew Wilson, Currently Postdoc, Purdue University
Kentaro Hosaka (2005–2008) Currently Curator, Mycology, National Museum for Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan
Peter Avis (2004–2007) Currently Assistant Professor, Indiana University Northwest
Patrick Leacock (1997–2006) Currently Adjunct Curator, Field Museum
John Paul Schmit (1999–2000) Currently Quantitative Ecologist, National Park Service
John (Jack) F. Murphy (1995–1997)

Mushrooms of Illinois
My colleague Joe McFarland, a writer for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and I put this website together as a companion to our book Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States. I have been studying the mushrooms of the area since graduate student days. While we know a lot about the birds, mammals, butterflies, plants, and snakes of Illinois and surrounding states, we are finding species of mushrooms unknown to science every year. The greater Chicago area is home to more than 1,000 species of mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, etc.

Mushrooms of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a fascinating place to study biodiversity and ecology because of the incredible biological richness and variety of habitats found within its small size. I have been working to document the diversity of Costa Rican fungi since 1986. My colleague Roy Halling of the New York Botanical Garden and I created a website to highlight the amazing fungi of the country and summarize our work.
I was accompanied by a photographer/videographer during an expedition to Costa Rica in 2004 to show the research team in the field, create educational materials, and highlight some of our cool findings with stories, images, and ten video reports.

Laccaria, a Model Genus for Studying Mushroom Ecology
In addition to studying “all” the mushrooms of selected countries, I research particular groups of mushrooms, such as Laccaria, that have exceptional value for addressing important biological questions. Such questions include how many species of fungi are there, do fungal species have distributions similar to plants and animals, and what degree of specificity occurs between plants and their symbiotic fungi.

NAMA Voucher Collection
The North American Mycological Association (NAMA) organizes an annual meeting/foray for amateur and professional mycologists. These forays are held at locations around the United States and Canada, and the specimens collected provide a unique snapshot of the fungal diversity of each site. Compiled, these data constitute the most comprehensive dataset on the fungi of North America. Images and information on the species found during these forays are housed at The Field Museum.

Mycological Contributions of Rolf Singer
Rolf Singer (1906–94) was one of the most influential figures in the history of mycology. He described more than 2,000 new species and provided major insights into fungal ecology. His 439 publications, in nine languages, serve as the foundation for much of the current research into fungal diversity. I had the incredible opportunity of working with Dr. Singer from 1985–94, and this had a tremendous impact on my research program. A searchable database providing information on his new species and a complete bibliography is available online.