Cecil Terence Ingold

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Cecil Terence Ingold (5 July 1905 – 31 May 2010) was "one of the most influential mycologists of the twentieth century".[1] He was president of the British Mycological Society where he organised the first international congress of mycologists. An entire class of aquatic fungi within the Pleosporales, the Ingoldian fungi,[2] were named after him,[3] although recent DNA studies are changing the scientific names.

Academic career[edit]

Terence Ingold was born at Blackrock, Dublin and attended school in Bangor, County Down.[4] He studied at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in 1926 won a First in his bachelor's degree in botany, with emphasis on mycology. He made a short study (in the style of A.H.R. Buller) of dispersal patterns of a Podospora species before taking up a scholarship in autumn 1926 at the Royal College of Science, London. Here the teaching and practicals in higher plant physiology by V. H. Blackman and others stimulated and laid a pattern for his later experimental thinking. He awoke to the value of scientific excursions (which became a keynote of his own teaching) through geological forays at Belfast led by J.K. Charlesworth, and taking part in Sir John Farmer's investigation of mountain vegetation in Snowdonia.[5]

In 1927, the year in which he was elected to the Linnean Society of London,[6] he returned to Queen's University for his doctorate in botany which he was awarded in 1930. His dissertation was on systems in plant sap that buffer against changes in pH. During this time he also mapped the vegetation of the summit of Slieve Donard: in 1934 the project was extended, with collaborators, to map the vegetation of the Mourne Mountains as a whole.

University of Reading[edit]

In 1929 Dr. Ingold received a faculty lectureship in the Department of Botany, then led by Professor J.R. Matthews, at the University of Reading. In 1934 the palaeobotanist T.M. Harris succeeded to the chair, and greatly influenced him by the example of his energy, his immense knowledge of plants in their environment and in laboratory, and his clarity and honesty of intellect.[7] In 1932, at the urging of Walter Buddin, Ingold joined the British Mycological Society.[3]

University of Leicester[edit]

Involvement with the Society strengthened Dr. Ingold's interests in the Fungi. They had become fully confirmed when, in 1937, he was appointed Lecturer in Charge of the Department of Botany at the University College of Leicester. Harris's constant encouragement and guidance were acknowledged in his book Spore Discharge in Land Plants, then in preparation.[8] Ingold took the opportunity to clear away the preserved specimens and to teach from living plants. The analytic and instructive clarity of his line-drawings from the microscope were a hallmark of his research and teaching. The Leicestershire waters and waterways and their aquatic fungi became a focus of interest studied by a circle of his research students, especially in relation to chytridiaceous parasites of freshwater algae (in which his student Hilda Canter (Lund) became expert[9]), and to aquatic Hyphomycetes. In 1942 he published his seminal work: "Aquatic hyphomycetes of decaying alder leaves".[10]

Birkbeck College, University of London[edit]

The researches so commenced, and his own particular interest in the hyphomycetes, were continued by Ingold and his students over many years. In 1944 he was appointed to probably the foremost chair in United Kingdom in the field of mycology, at Birkbeck College, University of London.[1] The Department of Botany had been led to prominence since 1909 by Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, pioneer in fungal genetics, who was made Professor in 1921. Following her retirement as Professor Emeritus Ingold first had the task of maintaining its work in the bomb-damaged premises at Fetter Lane during the last months of the War.[11] After the cessation of hostilities he was able to oversee its redevelopment and subsequent move in 1952 to the new Birkbeck College in Malet Street.[12]

At Birkbeck Professor Ingold continued to take a major role in the undergraduate teaching, and was joined in 1946 by his wartime Leicester student Bryan Plunkett[13] as lecturer, who remained with him permanently thereafter. Lectures were customarily illustrated by multiple living cultures prepared in laboratory for use with microscopes. Emphasis on fieldwork, living organisms and plants in their environment was maintained by frequent forays with students to favoured locations. In 1965, with a departmental academic staff of seven, he observed that the increasing need to present Botany as an experimental subject would in future demand greatly enlarged facilities, which might only be achieved by the reorganisation of their work, with other biological colleagues, into a School of Life Sciences.[14] Meanwhile, the Zoological and Botanical departments alternately led the annual expeditions or field trips with students and colleagues for the study of marine environments, for example to Dale Fort near Haverfordwest, Port Erin (Isle of Man), St Peter Port (Guernsey) and to the Scilly Isles.

An MSc course in mycology was developed,[15] and much productive research was undertaken, both into aquatic ascomycetes and hyphomycetes, and in studies of the processes of spore production, release and dispersal. The book Dispersal in fungi (1953) described and emphasised dispersal as a vital problem in the life of fungi.[16] Spore Liberation (1965), not a revision of the former, summarised fields of recent research to reveal how spore liberation was fundamental to understanding the structure of fungal fruiting bodies and bryophyte sporogonia.[17] A full revision combining both works in the light of much further research appeared as Fungal Spores, Their Liberation and Dispersal in 1971.[18] His textbook The Biology of Fungi, for those commencing formal study of fungi, was first published in 1961 and was fully revised in later editions.[19] Professor Ingold retired from post at Birkbeck in 1972, and was succeeded as Professor by the palaeo-botanist W.G. Chaloner.

Service to scientific and educational bodies[edit]

In the University of London Professor Ingold was Dean of the Faculty of Science (1956–60), Chairman of the University Entrance and School's Examination Council (1958–64), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (1966–68), and Chairman of the Academic Council (1969–72). He served as Vice-Master of Birkbeck College from 1965 to 1970. He was a member of the Inter-Universities' Council for Higher Education Overseas, and its vice-chairman 1969–74. He made special efforts towards the development of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.[20] He assisted in setting up the New University of Ulster (Coleraine) and the University of Kent (Canterbury).[21]

Having served on the Council of the Linnean Society from 1955 to 1957, Professor Ingold was its Botanical Secretary from 1962 to 1997, was Vice-President in 1954–55 and 1965–66, and was a gold medallist in 1983. He was twice President of the British Mycological Society (1953 and 1971), and was President of the First International Congress of Mycology at Exeter in 1971. He was also Chairman of the Council of the Freshwater Biological Association 1965–74.[20] He continued to work on fungi for thirty years after his retirement.[1] By 1985, at the age of 80, he had produced 174 scientific publications;[22] and approximately 100 appeared after that date.[23]

His daughter is Patsy Healey[24] and son is the noted anthropologist Tim Ingold.[25]

Contribution to Mycology[edit]

Terence Ingold is best known for his pioneering studies into the mechanism of spore discharge; his textbook The Biology of Fungi (which ran to five editions between 1961 and 1984), and for his discovery of an entirely new group of fungi – the aquatic hyphomycetes – of which more than 300 species are now recognised.[26]

Honours and recognition[edit]

Major works[edit]

  • 1939. Spore discharge in land plants. Oxford University Press.
  • 1971. Fungal spores: their liberation and dispersal. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198541158

Eponymous taxa[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Money, Nicholas P. (2010). "Obituary: Cecil Terence Ingold (1905–2010)". Nature. 465 (7301): 1025. doi:10.1038/4651025a. PMID 20577204.
  2. ^ The Ingoldian fungi are primarily responsible for leaf decay and nutrient recycling in streams. See, e.g., 'Fungi in streams: a leaf nightmare', Cornell Mushroom Blog 24 August 2008 (Cornell University).
  3. ^ a b Dawson, John. "Who's in a name: Ingoldian fungi". Archived from the original on 1 April 2012.
  4. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary. Professor Terence Ingold, 1905–2010', Mycologist News, Newsletter of the British Mycological Society 2010 part 4, pp. 22–23.
  5. ^ B.E. Plunkett, 'Professor Cecil Terence Ingold C.M.G., D.Sc., F.L.S., Hon. D. Litt. (Ibadan), Hon. D.Sc. (Exeter), Hon. D.C.L. (Kent)' Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society (1985), 91. Reprinted as 'Introduction' in Contributions to Mycology. A Tribute to Professor C.T. Ingold on his eightieth birthday, eds. M.W. Dick, D.N. Pegler & B.C. Sutton (Academic Press/Linnean Society of London 1985), pp. vii–xv.
  6. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary: Professor Terence Ingold', The Linnean 26 part 3 (October 2010), pp. 38–41 Archived 27 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine., at p. 38.
  7. ^ B.E. Plunkett, 'Professor Cecil Terence Ingold', p. viii.
  8. ^ C.T. Ingold, Spore Discharge in Land Plants (Oxford University Press, 1939), p. vi.
  9. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', The Linnean.
  10. ^ Ingold, Cecil Terence (1942). "Aquatic hyphomycetes of decaying alder leaves". Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 25 (4): 339–417. doi:10.1016/s0007-1536(42)80001-7.
  11. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', The Linnean, p. 39.
  12. ^ B.E. Plunkett, 'Professor Cecil Terence Ingold'.
  13. ^ Plunkett's doctorate in the physiology of fruiting in the hymenomycetes was awarded in 1951.
  14. ^ C.T. Ingold, 'Birkbeck Botany', The Lodestone Vol. 55 no. 3 (Diamond Jubilee edition), Summer 1965, pp. 36–37.
  15. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary. Professor Terence Ingold, Mycologist News, p. 23.
  16. ^ C.T. Ingold, Dispersal in Fungi (Oxford University Press 1953).
  17. ^ C.T. Ingold, Spore Liberation (Oxford University Press, 1965)
  18. ^ C.T. Ingold, Fungal Spores, Their Liberation and Dispersal (Oxford University Press, 1971).
  19. ^ C.T. Ingold, The Biology of Fungi (Hutchinson, London 1961): 5th Edition, 1984.
  20. ^ a b c d B.E. Plunkett, 'Professor Cecil Terence Ingold', p. x.
  21. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', Mycologist News.
  22. ^ Listed in Contributions to Mycology (1985), pp. xi–xv.
  23. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', The Linnean, p. 41.
  24. ^ 'HEALEY, Prof. Patsy', Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 29 May 2013
  25. ^ Marren, Peter (18 June 2010). "Professor C Terence Ingold: Foremost authority on the study of fungi whose work spanned eight decades". The Independent. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Hawksworth, David L. "Obituary: C Terence Ingold (1905–2010)" (PDF). IMA Fungus. International Mycological Association. pp. 17–18. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  27. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', The Linnean, p. 38.
  28. ^ M.W. Dick, D.N. Pegler & B.C. Sutton (eds), Contributions to Mycology. A Tribute to Professor C.T. Ingold on his eightieth birthday (Academic Press/Linnean Society of London 1985).
  29. ^ J. Webster, 'Obituary', Mycologist News, p. 23.
  30. ^ IPNI.  Ingold.

Other sources[edit]