What to illustrate and how to do it?
In the field
In the field
Having good pictures at disposition can help considerably when trying to identify species. Good pictures are also invaluable additions to a written description. With the availability of cheap digital photography, documenting species has become relatively easy. Preferably several pictures should be taken to give necessary details for features of gills, stipe and cap.
A few elementary guide lines should be respected when taking pictures in the field:
Although you may want to show the mushrooms exactly as you found them, leaving them untouched for the picture, there are very few situations in which this will result in a informative, scientific picture. It will usually be necessary to move some of the specimens closer to each other, and to orientate others so that details of the gills and stipe are clearly visible in the photograph. A cross section of one fruit-body may often be useful to highlight diagnostic features of context and stipe.
Illustrating microscopic features with photographs has the inconvenience of lacking depth of field in comparison with drawings. However, photographs have the advantage of presenting color and color changes.
Scanning electron microscopy
When discussing morphology, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) can be an invaluable source of information for certain groups of fungi, in particular where fine ornamentation of spores is concerned. In Russulales, however, SEM is not supplying any substantially new information compared to a good optical microscope and its use is limited to the facility of obtaining good black & white photographs of detailed spore ornamentation.
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