Costa Rica earth star
"Earth Star" fungi from Costa Rica [photo taken by Steven Swartwood (2001)]

Biology of Fungi

BIOL 4848/6948

Spring 2007 Semester

BIOL 4848 (
Undergraduate Level), Course Code 0396
BIOL 6948 (
Graduate Level), Course Code 0430
bird nest fungus
"Bird's Nest" fungus found on the YSU campus [Dr. Cooper's collecttion]

Course Instructor:
Dr. Chet Cooper, Associate Professor

Lecture Day/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Ward Beecher Science Hall Auditorium, Room 3022

Laboratory Day/Time (BIOL 6948 Only): Tuesdays, 3:30 PM - 6:20 PM
Location: Ward Beecher Science Hall, Room 2006

Initially Posted: January 16, 2007
Revised/Updated: March 7
, 2007

Copyright © 2005-2007 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.

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Go To:
Lecture Outllines/Slides
6948 Laboratory Home Page

Welcome to "Biology of Fungi"

dr cI am Dr. Chet Cooper, your course instructor for BIOL 4848/6948,
Biology of Fungi.  BIOL 4848 is three semester-hour upper-division course at Youngstown State University (YSU)  intended for undergraduate students majoring in biology, but students majoring in chemistry or any of the other "hard" sciences may also find this course quite beneficial.  BIOL 6948 is a four semester-hour graduate student version of this course.  The major difference is that graduate students enrolled in BIOL 6948 will be expected to perform at a higher level of scholarship, including active participation in the integrated laboratory component of the course. 

As your instructor, I am wholly committed to providing you a sound education in the foundations of fungal biology, which is also known by the scientific term "mycology" [myco = fungi; ology = the study of].  With the same commitment on your part, I guarantee that your experiences in this course will give you a different and accurate perspective of the role that fungi play in our daily lives.

The BIOL 4848/6948 Home Page has been constructed to contain all the necessary information that students need to actively participate in this course.  In essence, it represents my syllabus for Biology of Fungi.  In addition, this and the other web pages associated with this course provide a number of valuable resources for learning the principles of mycology.  Embedded within this web page are numerous links to various documents, web sites, and current information that form an integral part of BIOL 4848/6948.  These links are provided as buttons, like those in the right-hand column of this web page, or as underlined words/phraseslycogala (initially blue in color, but which change to green for a period of time once activated).  All one needs to do is click on the button or underlined words with your mouse to go to place within or outside this web page.  I strongly encourage students to refer often to the links in these web pages and exploit all the potential information contained therein to enhance their mycological knowledge.

Lycogala epidendrum, a type of slime mold
[taken from The Fifth Kingdom on CD-ROM,
2005; © Bryce Kendrick]

As your first assignment for this course, carefully and completely read through this web-based syllabus for BIOL 4848/6948.  If there is something that you don't understand or is not clear, please tell me.  I will be happy to alleviate your misunderstanding or confusion.  Pay particular attention to the section entitled "Acknowledgement of Syllabus" on the Course Policies web page.  A Syllabus Acknowledgement Form (SAF) must be downloaded, completed and submitted to me no later than 2:00 PM on January 30th.   My policy is that I will not administer any assignment, quiz, or examination to a student until the form is submitted.  In other words, you will receive no grades or scores for this course without my having received from you a completed SAF.  In essence, by reading, signing, and submitting this form, you signify that you have accessed and reviewed the web syllabus as well as agree to abide by all of
its requirements and policies.

I very much look forward to an exceptional enjoyable semester as your mycology instructor.  Should you have any questions or comments about anything related to this, please be sure to contact me.

Best Wishes for a Great Semester in BIOL 4848/6948, Biology of Fungi!

                                                                                     dr c. sig

                                                  [Back To Top of Page]

Course Description:

The lecture portions of this course will examine members of the fungal kingdom as well as fungal-like organisms.  The teaching emphasis will be placed upon their taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships, cell structure and function, growth, reproduction, physiology, genetics, and ecology.  Specialized topics related to the role of fungi in agriculture, medicine, and scientific research will be explored as well.   Students wishing to enroll in this course must have taken BIOL 3702 (Microbiology) (or its equivalent at another institution) and passed the course with a grade of C or better.   NOTE:  If you have not yet had BIOL 3702, but have taken BIOL 3711 (Cell Biology: Fine Structure) or BIOL 3740 (Plant Diversity), see Dr. Cooper regarding an exemption for the pre-requisite.

The lecture for both undergraduate students (BIOL 4848) and graduate students (BIOL 6948) will meet twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the Spring 2007 semester from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM in Room 3022 of Ward Beecher Science Hall.

In addition to the lecture session, graduate students must participate in a laboratory section integrated into BIOL 6948.  The laboratory is schedule to meet once per week
on Tuesdays during the Spring 2007 semester from 3:30 PM to 6:20 PM in Room 3009 of Ward Beecher Science Hall.  However, students should be aware that extra time outside of the scheduled laboratory period will be required for certain portions of the exercises to be conducted in this course.  NOTE:  Those graduate students wishing to take this course, but having conflicts with the scheduled laboratory section due to teaching commitments should see Dr. Cooper.

Course Goals and Objectives:

he goal of BIOL 4848/6948 is to prepare students for professional careers in a biological-related field that employs the principles of fungal biology.  This goal will be achieved through the mastery of the following specific objectives:

  • Discover how other disciplines contributed to the study of fungi;
  • Learn the concepts of fungal anatomy, growth, metabolism, and genetics;
  • Identify factors associated with fungal cellular development;
  • Discern the foundations of fungal taxonomy and phylogeny;
  • Comprehend the nature of fungal biodiversity;
  • Appreciate the role of fungi in human affairs;
  • Recognize the importance of proper dissemination of information; and
  • Understand the contributions of fungi to fundamental biological concepts.

Course Materials:

NOTE:  Dr. Cooper suggests that students not buy any of the required or recommended texts until after the first class meeting!

After reviewing a number of textbooks for this course, including new, old, and classical texts, not one completely satisfies Dr. Cooper's vision of a comprehensive presentation of fungal biology.  Therefore, Dr. Cooper has chosen a slight twist on a more classical form of teaching this course.  The lecture portion of the this course for all students will come mainly from material covered in Deacon's text (see below).  The information provided therein will be
supplemented with additional material from a variety of sources, some of which are available to students through books, literature, and the internet.  As indicated below and elsewhere in this web syllabus, some of these materials can be viewed on reserve in the Maag Library, some can be downloaded for free, and others can be purchased from different sources.  It is the student's option.

For graduate students, there is one additionally required text for the laboratory portion of their enrollement in this course - Hall's book on the development and understanding of phylogenetic trees.  Graduate students will also be required to keep a laboratory research notebook.

Finally, I have placed all of the required texts on reserve as well as few other items listed below.  Please be courteous of others in your use of these books. Also, if your budget is really stretched tight, you may be able to acquire these books via interlibrary loan.

Required Books: (For All Students)

MBO cover
The only required book for the lecture portion of this course is  Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists (2002) by Nicholas P. Money

[hardcover cost, approximately $26 via Oxford University Press; can also be purchased at the
YSU Bookstore or through other vendors, e.g. Amazon]

Note: The Maag Library copy of this book has been placed on reserve for use by the entire class.

deacon cover
Fungal Biology, 4th ed. (2006) by Jim Deacon

[softcover cost, approximately $92 via Blackwell Publishing; this book should also be available at the YSU Bookstore]

There is also a web page associated with this textbook that can be access via the button link below:

Deacon Web

The Maag Library copy of this book has been placed on reserve for use by the entire class.

growing fungus cover
The Growing Fungus (1995) by Neil A. Gow and Geoffrey M. Gadd (eds.)

[softcover cost via online vendors, approximately $135]

This book is freely available online, through the button link below, to members of the YSU community using an on campus computer or YSU dail-in service.

Growing Fungus

Using this link requires that you establish an accout with

Required Laboratory Text
(For Graduate Students Only!)

hall book
The required laboratory text for graduate students enrolled in BIOL 6948 is  Phylogenetic Trees Made Easy: A How-To Manual, 2nd. ed. (2004) by Barry G. Hall

[softcover cost, including bonus software CD, approximately $33 via Sinauer Associates,; can also be purchased at the YSU Bookstore or through other vendors, e.g. Amazon]

Note: A copy of this book has been placed on reserve for use by the entire class.  However, this does not include the software.

Required Laboratory Data Book: (For Graduate Students Only!)

Graduate students will need to acquire a bound laboratory notebook (e.g., composition book).  Loose-leaf notebooks are not acceptable.  The proper use of the notebook for recording laboratory data will be reviewed by Dr. Cooper.

Required Supplemental Readings
(For All Students)

On occasion, Dr. Cooper will notify students that an article from a different resource must be read.  These required readings will be made available as reserve material in the Maag Library or downloadable PDF files (requires Adobe Acroba Reader) on the Supplmental Readings web page.  To access this web page, click on the button at the top of most this course's web pages or on the one provided below:

supplemental readings

On Library Reserve

In addition to those texts noted above, the following text has been placed on reserve in Maag Library as a reference source.

fifth kingdom cover
The Fifth Kingdom, 2nd ed. (1992) by Bryce Kendrick

Note: The copy of this book  placed on reserve for use by the entire class is an older version of the latest edition listed below.  This newer edition might be obtained via interlibrary loan.

The Fifth Kingdom, 3rd ed. (2001) by Bryce Kendrick

[softcover cost, approximately $44 via Mycologue Publications
this book should also be available at the YSU Bookstore]

Several chapters of this text are freely available online by clicking on the button link below:

5th Kingdom

the fungi cover
The Fungi, 2nd ed. (2001) by Michael J. Carlile, Sarah C. Watkinson, and Graham W. Gooday

[softcover cost, approximately $51 via Elsevier

Supplemental Book
(Not Required!)

Because students will be required to prepare a number of written assignments and essay questions on their examinations, the following book is recommended for those needing help with writing.  Graduate students may also find the following books particularly useful in writing their reports as well as for general use throughout their chosen careers.

In addition, students who have difficulty in writing are strongly encouraged to seek help through the YSU Writing Center located in Room 3002, Coffelt Hall.  See their web page ( for more information, including useful handouts.

pechenik cover
A Short Guide to Writing About Biology, 5th ed. (2004) by Jan A. Pechenik. 

[softcover cost, approximately $38 via Pearson Longman Publishers.  In addition, a time restricted electronic subscription is available via Safarix for approximately $19; this book should also be available at the YSU Bookstore]

day book
How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 5th ed. (1998) by Robert A. Day. 

[hardcover cost, approximately $31 via; the same book is available directly from the publishers, Greenwood Publishing Group for approximately $45]

Dr. Cooper's Contact Information:

Dr. Cooper welcomes the opportunity to interact with students outside the classroom and encourages you to visit him as often as needed.  However, Dr. Cooper has two general requests: i) please don't just "drop in" to his office outside office hours unless it is absolutely critical for you to do so, and ii) please don't visit him the hour preceeding lecture when he is busy preparing for class.  Otherwise, Dr. Cooper holds five office hours per week (days/times listed below).  If these do not fit your schedule, please call or email Dr. Cooper with times/dates that you are open so he can schedule an appointment with you.  And, most importantly, do not wait until the day before or the morning of an examination to seek help from Dr. Cooper.

Office Location:
Room 4015,  Ward Beecher Science Hall

Office Hours: 
Mondays through Friday
11:00 AM - 12:00PM
Other times by appointment

                     Telephone/Voice Mail:                         Email:

Course Policies:

Additional information regarding BIOL 4848/6948 can be found in the Course Policies web page.  Click on the button below to access that site.  Be sure to carefully read the policies, then submit the Syllabus Acknowledgement Form to Dr. Cooper by the stated deadline.

course policies

Assistance with the BIOL 4848/6948 Web Pages:

A very important fact that every student in BIOL 4848/6948 should know:

Dr. Cooper is not a computer geek!

Dr. Cooper has absolutely no clue as to how computers and software work, neither does he care to learn the intricate details.  He has struggled mightily in just learning how to put this web syllabus together.  Hence, students are advised that he can be of no help whatsoever in assisting you in solving problems such as "Why can't I download the PDF document?" or "I can't open the document that I downloaded!"

That being noted, if students do have a problem with this web page, please do notify Dr. Cooper.  The problem may be as simple as a broken or inaccurate link which can be readily solved.  Beyond that, contact the YSU Tech Desk by telephone at 
330.941.1595 or by email at for help with your particular situation.

ysupete    ysu word mark

Course Related Links

Examination/Assignment Links


Graduate Students Only

Textbook Related Links

Deacon Web
5th Kingdom
Growing Fungus

Other Links of Interest

mycology links

Dr C home
ysu home

Dr. Cooper's Contact Information

Office Hours:  (WBSH, Room 4015)

   - Mondays - Fridays, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

   - Other times by appointment only

Telephone/Voice Mail:  330.941.1361


Verpa bohemica, a type of edible morel (Phylum Ascomycota) [taken from The Fifth Kingdom on CD-ROM, 2005; © Bryce Kendrick]

A. versicolor

A false colored image of the conidia and conidiophores of Aspergillus versicolor as observed under a scanning electron microscope. This image is used with the expressed permission of Dr. Dennis Kunkel, who also holds the copyright to this and other images used throughout this course web page.  To see more stunning images like the above, as well as other microbes, visit Dr. Kunkel's web page at

Course Related Links

course policies
course calendar
6948 lab page
supplemental readings
syllabus disclaimer
current grades

nuclear behavior in basidium
Amimation of nulcear fusion and meiosis during spored formation in a fungal basidium [taken from The Fifth Kingdom on CD-ROM, 2005; © Bryce Kendrick]

two headed ed

No, that's not a goiter!!!  The Biology Department's own Mr. Ed Budde displays a giant puffball fungus that he picked earllier that day from his own yard.  In case you are confused, Ed is the guy on the left!  (Image © Chet Cooper)


The sporangium of Absidia corymbifera (Phylum Zygomycota) containing numerous sporangiospores [courtesy of Dr. Michael McGinnis, University of Texas Medical Branch]

Course Related Links
course policies
course calendar
6948 lab page
supplemental readings
syllabus disclaimer
current grades

<>ira salkin

The face of this striking individual belongs to Dr. Ira Salkin, Dr. Cooper's first boss/mentor after earning his Ph.D.  Dr. Salkin is recently retired from the New York State Department of Health where he served in numerous capacities including Director of the Mycology Laboratories.

mike mcginnis

Dr. Cooper's good friend and colleague, Dr. Michael McGinnis, a reknown medical mycologist, resting under one of his new discoveries - Gargantiagaricus lavendera.  To learn more about Dr. McGinnis and his research interests, search for his home page at the following URL:
[photo taken from a recent article in the UTMB Magazine; Copyright
© 2005 University of Texas Medical Branch]

dolipore septum

Transmission electron micrograph of a dolipore-type septum typically found in basidiomycetes [taken from The Fifth Kingdom on CD-ROM, 2005; © Bryce Kendrick]

jim haris

This distinguished gentleman is Dr. James L. Harris, currently of the Texas Department of Health.  On occasion, Dr. Harris teaches mycology at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Cooper's first experiences with the fungi came through undergraduate mycology courses taught by Dr. Harris at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  [The above photo was taken from the following web site:].

<>Course Related Links
course policies
course calendar
6948 lab page
supplemental readings
syllabus disclaimer
current grades


This handsome dude is Dr. Cooper's former mentor and major professor, Dr. Paul Szaniszlo, of the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Szaniszlo is an expert in the molecular biology of fungal morphogenesis, particularly of those darkly pigmented fungi that cause the diseases termed phaeohyphomycosis and chromoblastomycosis.  To learn more about Dr. Szaniszlo and his research interests, point your web browser to the following URL:

This web page was created using the Composer function of Netscape 7.2.  Buttons used in thisbutton generator
web page were created using ButtonGenerator.

Viewing This Web Page: The web pages associated with this course were produced by Dr. Cooper using the Composer function of Netscape 7.2.  While most web page browsers will read these electronic documents, their structural integrity seems best served by Netscape 7.2 and above.

Copyright © 2005-2007 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.