FUNGI in the NEWS
A collection of miscellaneous stories about fungi and slime molds that I like
with some short comments.
The stories are not always ordered by date, but newer stories are
generally listed before older ones.
The background picture is a photo I took of Clavulinopsis in Garrett county,
Maryland. Clavulinopsis is a beautiful coral-like mushroom
that appeared in great abundance in the summer of 2019. Here are some more
Early July Garrett County Mushrooms
- Not fungi but a great article about Physarum in the Atlantic: A Brainless Slime That Shares Memories by Fusing -- The oozing yellow organism has no neurons, but it can solve mazes, make decisions, and learn by merging together.
- Beware the global catastrophic fungal risk!
Fungi aren't always soft, cuddly and delicious, sometimes they are predators too!
Here is a related news story about the very scary Candida auris fungus:
A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy
- "Never underestimate the intelligence of trees" (an interview with Suzanne Simard) A discussion about the wood wide web.
- Speaking of the wood wide web, here is a nice New Yorker story from 2016,
The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web about London's Epping forest and Merlin Sheldrake, whos dad is a bit out there.
- Speaking of stories about Merlin Sheldrake,
Robert Macfarlane, the author of that New Yorker piece
about Epping forest also writes deeply about mycology and has a wonderful book called The Understory.
(Macfarlane is not to be confused with the similarly-named 'Star wars' guy, Robert McFarlane.)
- A fun article on mushroom foraging, hipsters and haute cuisine:
- Think fungi are new age hippie types? Think again! They might just be hard-core capitalists
(according to this paper in the journal Cell): Mycorrhizal Fungi Respond to Resource Inequality by Moving Phosphorus from Rich to Poor Patches across Networks.
Fungi can get a higher price (in sugar) for their ability to supply water and nutrients (phosphorus, etc.) when the demand is higher.
- Ur-fungi. The kingdom of fungi is older than we thought:
Billion-year-old fossils set back evolution of earliest fungi
- Morels. You love to eat them, but did you realize that they practice agriculture? Yes, that's right not only
do we homo sapiens farm—well OK us and the ants and the termites too—but so do some fungi!
In fact, morels are apparently bacteria farmers
complete with cultivation, harvesting, storage, and division of labor,
according to this story in Forbes (of all places)
Morchella crassipes farms Pseudomonas putida.
- The death cap mushroom is expanding its range across north America Good thing Amanitas are pretty easy to identify! Be careful out there foraging...
- Magic mushrooms might have evolved to mess with insect brains ultimately, apparently, for our benefit! Those poor insects.
- Ohio's own incomparable Nik Money warns Against the naming of fungi (full PDF of article here:
- I don't need to add any comment to the title of this really interesting article:
With Fungi in the Mix, Concrete Can Fill Its Own Cracks: Adding fungus might be one way to endow concrete with the ability to repair any damage, without the need for human intervention
- These cool mad scientists are making ecologically-friendly polymer and leather-like fabrics from mycelia:
- Enough about fungi, artist Heather Barnett talks about slime molds: Heather Barnett
- Fungi can learn to eat almost anything, even radiation