SOU Discovery Named to ‘Top 10 New Species’ List

(Ashland, Ore.) An underwater mushroom found growing in the swift and cold upper Rogue River in 2005 has been named one of the ‘Top 10 New Species’ of the year by a group of taxonomists working with the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.
The mushroom was discovered by Robert Coffan, a consulting hydrologist at SOU, while walking in the river. His discovery was confirmed by SOU Biology Professor Emerita Darlene Southworth and Biology Research Technician Jonathan Frank. They named the mushroom Psathyrella aquatica, which means a gilled mushroom that grows in the water.
“We are pleased to have recognition for Psathyrella aquatica, the first gilled mushroom known to fruit underwater,” says Southworth. “We are truly in an age of discovery, particularly for fungi–new species, new habitats, new interactions.”

At the time of the discovery, Coffan said “Discovering new habitat for complex organisms such as mushrooms is something you might expect in the Amazon, or along the deep oceanic trenches. But here they are, waiting for us in the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.”

The ‘Top 10 New Species’ list is announced annually on the anniversary of the birth of Carolus Linnaeus — the ‘grand father’ of taxonomy who popularized the genus/species designations in his best selling, 18th century work, the Systema Naturae. (Source: Planetsave (

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