IUMS has three divisions, namely Virology [VIR], Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology [BAM], and Mycology [MYC]. Two of them [VIR and BAM] cover all organisms within their respective domains that span a significant part of microbiology, e.g. BAM deals with both Eubacteria and Archaea. Traditionally, the field of eukaryotic microbiology was only covered by MYC and it is clear that this by no means covers all eukaryotic microorganisms. Recently, comparative genomics has highlighted the extreme diversity of eukaryotic microbes, and their important ecological roles in nature and as pathogens. Some findings uncovered some highly unexpected evolutionary links, e.g. between the fungi and microsporidia, and the discovery of a new class of cell-wall lacking fungi, so-called Cryptomycota.

The current focus on the fungi implies that vast areas of eukaryotic microbiology are not covered by IUMS. The current ‘omics’-era allows meaningful comparisons across all eukaryotic microorganisms as well as an increasing understanding of the diversity and its implication for fundamental and applied research fields. A similar development can be seen by a series of meeting on Comparative Genomics of Eukaryotic Microorganism that was funded by European Science Foundation (ESF) and currently by European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and that is held every second year. This series of meetings started in 2003 with a major focus on fungi and since then the scope enlarged to cover all eukaryotic microbial lineages. This cross talk has made these meetings definitively more interesting [see meeting reports EcoDevo http://www.evodevojournal.com/content/2/1/22; Genome Biology


We propose to widen the scope of the Mycology Division (MYC) to Mycology & other Eukaryotic Microbiology (MEM). It was proposed by the IUMC council in Madrid May 2013 to keep Mycology in the title of the Division in order to keep the interest of the Mycology community. In line with this the 2014 Montreal IUMS ‘Mycology’ meeting will to some extent also address other areas of eukaryotic microbiology next to mycology. The members of the scientific advisory board for IUMS MYC 2014 liked this without exception.

The issue was discussed initially at the 2011 Mycology Division Council meeting in Sapporo and there was general support with no strong objections raised. It should be noted that during the Sapporo meeting already a parasitology symposium was realized. In addition, there is a second mycology umbrella organization, the ‘International Mycological Association [IMA]’, that organizes a congress on a variety of mycology topics every fourth year. Knowing the mycological community from inside it is fair to state that IMA is seen by almost all, if not all, mycologists as their representative body. Unfortunately, the organization of the IMA and IUMS Mycology congresses occasionally coincides, such as is the case in 2014. Thus the inclusion of other areas of eukaryotic microbiology may also give IUMS the possibility to position its MYC congress in the broader context of eukaryotic microbiology and thus to diminish program overlap with the IMA congresses. We view our proposal as a proactive step forward that will position the field of eukaryotic microbiology under IUMS.

The inclusion of students of all eukaryotic microbes may strengthen the position of IUMS in the field of microbiology. This transition, however, will take time and discussions may be started with members of many societies on e.g. parasitology, protistology, algology, etc. how they will benefit from an association with IUMS.

At first, a decision has to be made by IUMS council on this proposal to move from IUMS MYC to IUMS MEM. Such a development will strengthen ties between all students of eukaryotic microbiology, it will have positive effects on the development of our science, and will be beneficial to IUMS and the eukaryotic microbiology member organizations in the future.

Here we will propose such a transition from the Division Mycology [MYC] to a Division Mycology & other Eukaryotic Microbiology (MEM) and hope that council will agree with the arguments provided. If this proposal gets accepted one has to consider the composition of the MEM board for the next period in order to make this a smooth transition and improve recognition in the non-MYC fields of eukaryotic microbiology.

Utrecht, December 19 1213 Teun Boekhout, Vice-chair MYC and Scott Baker, Chair MYC