Marinus Anton Donk (1908 - 1972) - a brief biography

Dutch mycologist Marinus Anton Donk was born in Java (now Indonesia) on 14th August 1908 and educated in The Hague and then at Utrecht University, where he studied biology and was awarded a doctorate for his work on the Heterobasidiomycetes of The Netherlands, published in 1933 as Revisie van de Nederlandse Heterobasidiomyceteae (Revision of the Dutch Heterobasidiomycetes).

Returning in 1934 to what was then the Dutch East Indies, Donk worked first as a teacher in a Lyceum and Medical School, and then in 1941 he became curator of the herbarium of the Buitenzorg Botanical Garden - an opportunity cut short by the war, as he interned by the Japanese a year later and remained imprisoned until 1945.

It was as a taxonomist that Donk made his greatest contribution to mycology, and to his interest in the Aphyllophorales - mushrooms without gills, such as the various club fungi (e.g. Clavaria species) and the spined mushrooms (e.g. Hydnum species) as well as polypores, boletes and crust fungi - he added also the Heterobasidiomycetes (jelly fungi, rusts and smuts).

Donk and his colleague Rudolph Arnold Maas Geesteranus founded the mycological journal Persoonia in 1959.

Marinus Anton Donk died in ’s-Gravenhage on 2nd September 1972.

The abbreviation Donk is used to indicate Marinus Anton Donk as the author when citing a mycological name.

Other Positions and Awards

Head of the Herbarium Bogoriense between 1947 and 1955.

Deputy Professor, University of Indonesia, 1952.

Head of the Mycological Department, Rijksherbarium, Leiden, between 1956 and 1972.

Dr Donk also held the post of President of the Nomenclature Committee of five of the International Botanical Congresses, in the Committee for Fungi and Lichens.

Selected Mycological Works

Dr Donk wrote many learned papers during his working lifetime, and this is just a very small selection of his output:

Nederlandse Basidiomyceten. 1; 1930, Nederlandsch Kruidkundig Archief 1 pp 65-84.

Revisie van de Nederlandse Heterobasidiomyceteae (Revision of the Dutch Heterobasidiomycetes), 1933. (This was Donk's doctoral thesis.)

New and revised nomina generica conservanda proposed for Basidiomycetes (Fungi), 1949; Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de Buitenzorg Série 3 18 pp 83-168.

The generic names proposed for Agaricaceae; Weinheim: Cramer, 1962.

A conspectus of the families of Aphyllophorales, 1964; in Persoonia 3, pp 199 - 324.

The generic names proposed for Polyporaceae, 1964, in Persoonia 1, pp 173 - 302.

Check List of European Polypores (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd.Natuurkunde), 1974.

Check list of European Hymenomycetous Heterobasidiae, 1966, in Persoonia 4 (2-3), pp 145-335.

Selected Sources:

Singer R. Marinus Anton Donk (1908-1972), in Mycologia. May-Jun 1973; 65(3) pp:503-6.

A.J.P. Oort, Levensbericht M.A. Donk, in: Jaarboek, 1972, Amsterdam, pp. 111-113.

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

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