Mihai TOMA was born on 30 April 1934 in the village of Buteni in Arad County. After graduating from Normal School in 1953, he attended the Faculty of Natural Sciences – Geography of the “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca, earning a BS in 1958.
In 1975 he defended his doctoral thesis entitled: Researches on flora and vegetation of Dorna Depression (Suceava) at the Faculty of Biology – Geography of the “Babes-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca, under the scientific supervision of Professor Eugen GHISA.
After graduation, for two years taught natural sciences in Suatu, Cluj County, and in 1960 became scientific researcher at the „Stejaru” Research Station – Neamt County, which belonged to the „Alexandru Ioan Cuza ” University of Iasi. After a year he is employed by the „Ion Ionescu de la Brad” Agronomic Institute in Iasi, where he starts his academic career, at the the Laboratory of Botany, Faculty of Agriculture. He will follow this direction, becoming professor. University teaching career has allowed noting his teaching and researching skills providing, with professional competence in training many generations of students. Teaching activity was supported through elaboration of books, training manuals and practical work books in the field of Botany. Scientific investigations have been directed especially for Floristic diversity and Phytosociology in different regions of Moldova.
Thesis constituted a valuable study on the Floritic diversity and Vegetation, especially on macromycetes from Dorna Depression. In his thesis are listed 782 species (Basidiomycota – 617 species, Ascomycota – 120 species), 5 varieties and 4 forms of fungi and 23 species of Myxomycetes. There were listed and describedrecorded for the first time in Romania the following species considered rare: Onygena corvina, O. equina, Woldmaria crocea, Merulius aureus and Pluteus coccineus.
The scientific activity in the field of mycology resulted in the publication of over 55 scientific papers in journals in the country and abroad. These works make outstanding contributions to taxonomy, ecology and chorology of macromycetes reported in different natural ecosystems in Moldova: Dorna Basin and Bistrita Aurie, Rarău and Ceahlău massifs, Vrancea Mountains, Leaota Massif and Portile de Fier. Together with Eugenia ELIADE from the Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, he published in 1971 the first Atlas of mushrooms in Romania. The work is considered a practical guide for recognizing the main species of edible, inedible and poisonous mushrooms.
Participation in numerous national and international scientific meetings in the field of mycology (Czechoslovakia, 1969; France, 1973, 1981, 1983; Switzerland, 1976 Germany, 1990) have allowed regular contact with schools and renowned researchers in Europe. In this regard we mention the collaboration with Régis COURTECUISSE and Bernard DUHEM (France) to establish chorology of macromycete species in Europe. The international recognition enabled the possibility of large exchanges of literature in the field of mycology. He has created at the „Ion Ionescu de la Brad” University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, a mycological library for documentation which included over 900 volumes published in foreign languages, some of them being of inestimable historical value. Later, this library has been partially donated to the Romanian Mycological Society. Scientific understanding of the taxonomy and ecology of fungi and experience exchanges with specialists from France were the prerequisites for the establishment in 1988 of the Mycological Society, with the occasion of an exhibition of fresh edible and poisonous mushrooms, organized in Iasi, for the first time in Romania.