Somme Woods Research

Somme Woods Project

Educational video by the Illinois Mycological Association.
Speakers: Patrick Leacock, Adjunct Curator, Field Museum of Natural History; Reid Swenson, Volunteer at Somme Woods; Stephen Packard, Volunteer Steward, Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
Video created by James Strzelinski, Spiel.
Published on June 26, 2015.

Citizen Science: Somme Woods Plot Study

IMA volunteers run a mushroom research project at Somme Woods in Northbrook, Illinois. Oak woodlands are a major habitat across the Chicago Region and county forest preserves are actively managing and restoring these ecosystems. Reid, Patrick and volunteers survey the mushrooms in relation to the restoration there.

somme-woods-mapA multi-year project examines the response of mushrooms to oak woodland restoration. This involves 4 research plots to get real data on diversity. Each plot is sampled once a month from spring through autumn. An area with buckthorn has 2 plots: one plot with no restoration will be compared with a second plot where restoration will occur. There is also a plot with bur oak and another plot with swamp white oak. Field work involves collecting and recording the fungi in each division of the plots. Alternate trips are spent walking through designated parts of the site to record mushrooms associated with the various oaks and other trees. Collections are photographed, unknowns described, and specimens dried. Volunteer work at the Field Museum herbarium will be needed for boxing and labeling specimens. Volunteers will be trained in the different methods used.

Leacock has led many plot studies with Greg Mueller and colleagues across the Chicago area for 17 years. These sites were generally good quality oak woodland or savanna. This work at Somme Woods will provide a look at habitat under new restoration work and particularly a multi-year sampling of buckthorn choked woodland. There is a team of IMA members that participate in the project. If you are interested in assisting, please contact Patrick Leacock:

If you want to help with restoration visit the North Branch Restoration Project. Or check out the other restoration projects near where you live: Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project.