Nathan Wilson

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Nathan Wilson
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Nathan Wilson is the Director of the Center for Library and Informatics at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Director of the Biodiversity Informatics Component of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). For the EOL he leads the technical team responsible for the software development and hardware infrastructure. He is a software professional and an avid field naturalist specializing in fungi. Prior to coming to the MBL, Nathan was a software architect and manager in the R&D department at DreamWorks Animation where he focused on collaboration tools and open source software. He has also worked for Digital Domain, Apple Computer and SRI International as well as some Silicon Valley startups. He has a masters in computer science from University of California, Santa Cruz where his thesis was on using computers to identify fungi and a masters in experimental psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. His interests in computers, fungi and citizen science have led him to create several mushroom related websites including the Mushroom Observer (

Project CO-PI

SVF LogoSemantic Vernaculars for Fungi (SVF)
Principal Investigator: Deborah L. McGuinness
Co Investigator: Nathan Wilson
Description: Fungi are typically referred to by either scientific or common names. Neither of these terminologies meets the need for well-defined, persistent definitions of groups of fungi who exhibit similar macroscopic qualities, but may be dissimilar genetically. We propose a community-developed vocabulary that can be used to identify mushrooms based on properties that can be observed in the field (without microscopic or genomic examination). We show how an ontology can be used to develop and organize the terms and definitions and to enable applications based on the vocabulary.