About The Outer Spores

Paul Kroeger, Bryce Kendrick, Oluna Ceska
and Christine Roberts 
(2012) 200 pp

This is the first comprehensive study of the macrofungi of Haida Gwaii, carried out over 5 years, and recording over 600 fungi.  The book has 300 illustrations, almost all in colour; many distribution maps, some photomicrographs, and graphs of cumulative taxa, as well as a comprehensive list of all fungi collected, and sections on edible, poisonous, and ecological and nutritional  groupings.  A fascinating guide to the fungi of one of the world's most amazing archipelagos.


Why "The Outer Spores"?

    Our title reflects the honour we feel at participating in the spirit of biological exploration embodied by two Americans: the zoologist, Ed Ricketts, and the author, John Steinbeck, who in 1948 had made all preparations for a groundbreaking biological research trip to Haida Gwaii. This expedition was part of a study of marine fauna on exposed coastlines which they planned to publish as The Outer Shores.

    Tragically, Ricketts was killed in an accident shortly before they were to leave Monterey, California. John Steinbeck subsequently wrote the following in his book The log from the sea of Cortez:

    "At the time of Ed's death our plans were completed, tickets bought, containers and collecting equipment ready for a long collecting trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands, which reach so deep into the Pacific Ocean. There was one deep bay with a long and narrow opening where we thought we might observe some changes in animal forms due to a specialized life and a long period of isolation. Ed was to have started withing a month and I was to have joined him there. Maybe someone else will study that little island in the sea. The light has gone out of it for me."

    The spirit and intent of Ricketts and Steinbeck were revived in The Outer Shores, an important book published in 1989 on Haida Gwaii (previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands). This book dealt with many aspects of Haida Gwaii natural and human history (Scudder and Gessler, Eds. 1989).

    In this new book, The Outer Spores, we apply the spirit of Ricketts and Steinbeck to ecologically important spore-producing organisms, the fungi and especially the mushrooms, that were not included in previous books.

    We are grateful to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site for making this study possible.

        Paul Kroeger    Bryce Kendrick    Oluna Ceska    Christine Roberts