Listen to Lynne Boddy describe how bacteria take advantage of fungi in the complicated ecosystem down among the roots of trees—what biologists call the rhizosphere.
Images courtesy of Ari Daniel Shapiro Facts
is known as the “ Amanita brunnescens brown blusher” after the brown stain left by its bruised flesh.
Foresters are enlisting one fungus in biowarfare to save stands of commercial fir trees in British Columbia. Early results studies show that
H. fasciculare can successfully displace the pathogen, , in managed forests. Armillaria solidipes
Underground fungal networks can grow to be enormous. In fact, one specimen of Dark Honey Fungus discovered in Oregon’s Blue Mountains in 1998 may hold the record for the largest organism on the planet! This giant
is as big as 1,665 football fields. Armillaria ostoyae
Fungi aren’t always decomposers; sometimes they even play the role of predator. The mycorhizzial fungus
appears to lure small insect-like creatures called Laccaria bicolor springtails to their doom, providing its host tree with some nitrogen fertilizer. Participate
Mycologists—fungus ecologists like Lynne Boddy—use spore prints to help identify fungi. To make a spore print, mycologists leave the mature cap of a fungus on a piece of paper; after a few hours, the spores have left a kind of fungal fingerprint behind. Then the tell-tale color of the spores can be used to confirm the identity of the fungus.
You can make your own; spore prints are simple to make using white or black paper, glass, or even a flat-bed scanner. You can see a spore print of
H. fasciculare here, and learn how to make prints of your own from Michael Kuo at mushroomexpert.com. Share your spore prints with us by uploading them to the EOL Group Image Group on Flickr.