Mycology Reading Group

Hi all, kieran a.k.a. kyphae (on scuttlebutt) a.k.a. magpie, very interested in joining this reading group though may not be able to make every session as I’m studying a MSc in Dynamical Systems at the moment which consumes a lot of my time. I have the long-term intention of leaning more into computational analysis of fungal ecologies, so this is a perfect opportunity to integrate! Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the next meet but will participate asynchronously.

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Hi there everyone!
I just happened upon this amazing idea. I’m fire for the paper on networks!

I’m very keen on doing this regularly and do have a quite a few sources that I’d like to share with you as well - here is the book series “The Mycota” on my google drive: The Mycota

Looking forward to meeting you!
@glyph do you know an Alana? She’s sitting in my kitchen right now :slightly_smiling_face:

Cheers!

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I’ve closed the voting poll for the next session (Thursday, 28 January 02021). We’ll be discussing paper (3):

Heaton L, Obara B, Grau V, et al. (2012). Analysis of fungal networks. Fungal Biology Reviews, 26(1): 12-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2012.02.001

Please message me if you need access to the paper. Looking forward to seeing and hearing some of you! We will post notes here for those who are unable to attend.


@magpie

Hey kieran! It’s terrific to see you here; been a long time since we spoke. The MSc sounds very interesting. I’d love to hear more about that at some point. Looking forward to having you on a future call :slight_smile:

Hi @phylanx, I’ve very happy to hear you like the reading group idea! Thanks for sharing The Mycota series and for voting on the poll. I’m really looking forward to taking my mycological understanding to the next level in this collaborative learning exercise.

I don’t think Alana and I have ever met before. Maybe that will happen on one of these gatherings :blush: Take care, hope to see you soon.

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@glyph: I found out that it is @notplants who knows her :slight_smile:

I’m reading the paper but I fear I will not be able to finish it until tomorrow since I’m super busy these days. It’s highly interesting to me though and I’m looking forward to our meeting!

hi all, @glyph is not feeling well today so won’t be able to make it,
but I’ll still be there at 19:00 UTC+1 for anyone keen to join

here is the jitsi link again: jisti

happy full moon

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I received a spam email from a website that I tried to read the previous paper through (academia.edu), before realizing you need to pay,
and the spam email said “you read Fungal Analysis, you might also like this paper”
, and it suggested this paper (PDF) Growth-induced mass flows in fungal networks | Luke Heaton - Academia.edu

which looks interesting, probably one of the best spam mail I’ve received

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@notplants

That is A-grade spam. I receive similar emails from Mendeley and they’ve already blessed me with some tasty treats.

Maybe we can add the mass flows paper to the two which were not chosen from the last session (ant-fungus associations and climate change impacts) and run another poll? Seems like a nice pattern to vote on three options each time and slowly work through all the suggestions.

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Third Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Thursday, 11 February 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+1)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

Time to pick a paper for our next meeting. I’m proposing three paper options again this time, two that were left-over from the last vote and one new paper suggested by @notplants .

  1. Phylogenetic patterns of ant–fungus associations indicate that farming strategies, not only a superior fungal cultivar, explain the ecological success of leafcutter ants (link ).
  2. Potential impacts of climate change on interactions among saprotrophic cord-forming fungal mycelia and grazing soil invertebrates (link).
  3. Growth-induced mass flows in fungal networks (link).

Not all of these papers are open-access. Please send me a private message if you need help accessing them.

Here’s a voting poll. I’m going to try and get these polls up earlier in the future so we have more time for reading the paper after a choice has been made.

Paper for 3rd meeting
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

0 voters

Alrighty, I think it’s safe to say we have a clear front-runner for our third meeting. I’ve closed the voting. Coming up on Thursday we’ll be reading (3):

Mueller U, Kardish M, Ishak H, et al. (2018). Phylogenetic patterns of ant–fungus associations indicate that farming strategies, not only a superior fungal cultivar, explain the ecological success of leafcutter ants. Molecular Ecology, 27(10): 2414-2434. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14588

Abstract

To elucidate fungicultural specializations contributing to ecological dominance of leafcutter ants, we estimate the phylogeny of fungi cultivated by fungus-growing (attine) ants, including fungal cultivars from (i) the entire leafcutter range from southern South America to southern North America, (ii) all higher-attine ant lineages (leafcutting genera Atta, Acromyrmex; nonleafcutting genera Trachymyrmex, Sericomyrmex) and (iii) all lower-attine lineages. Higher-attine fungi form two clades, Clade-A fungi (Leucocoprinus gongylophorus, formerly Attamyces) previously thought to be cultivated only by leafcutter ants, and a sister clade, Clade-B fungi, previously thought to be cultivated only by Trachymyrmex and Sericomyrmex ants. Contradicting this traditional view, we find that (i) leafcutter ants are not specialized to cultivate only Clade-A fungi because some leafcutter species ranging across South America cultivate Clade-B fungi; (ii) Trachymyrmex ants are not specialized to cultivate only Clade-B fungi because some Trachymyrmex species cultivate Clade-A fungi and other Trachymyrmex species cultivate fungi known so far only from lower-attine ants; (iii) in some locations, single higher-attine ant species or closely related cryptic species cultivate both Clade-A and Clade-B fungi; and (iv) ant–fungus co-evolution among higher-attine mutualisms is therefore less specialized than previously thought. Sympatric leafcutter ants can be ecologically dominant when cultivating either Clade-A or Clade-B fungi, sustaining with either cultivar-type huge nests that command large foraging territories; conversely, sympatric Trachymyrmex ants cultivating either Clade-A or Clade-B fungi can be locally abundant without achieving the ecological dominance of leafcutter ants. Ecological dominance of leafcutter ants therefore does not depend primarily on specialized fungiculture of L. gongylophorus (Clade-A), but must derive from ant–fungus synergisms and unique ant adaptations.

Please message me if you need access to the paper. Looking forward to seeing and hearing some of you!

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Happy New Moon! :new_moon:

Our third meeting is coming up in approximately 10 hours (see above for details). Looking forward to hanging out with some of you and getting geeky over ant-fungus farming.

Fourth Meeting :full_moon:

Date: Saturday, 27 February 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+1)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

It feels like a good time to read a cultivation-related paper :slightly_smiling_face: This should be a lot more accessible and directly-applicable than our previous readings.

We’ve all heard about growing mushrooms on used coffee grounds, how about tea waste?

Yang D, Liang J, Wang Y, et al (2016). Tea waste: an effective and economic substrate for oyster mushroom cultivation. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 96(2), 680-684.

Link to the paper

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Tea waste is the residue that remains after tea leaves have been extracted by hot water to obtain water-soluble components. The waste contains a re-usable energy substrate and nutrients which may pollute the environment if they are not dealt with appropriately. Other agricultural wastes have been widely studied as substrates for cultivating mushrooms. In the present study, we cultivated oyster mushroom using tea waste as substrate. To study the feasibility of re-using it, tea waste was added to the substrate at different ratios in different experimental groups. Three mushroom strains (39, 71 and YOU) were compared and evaluated. Mycelia growth rate, yield, biological efficiency and growth duration were measured.

RESULTS: Substrates with different tea waste ratios showed different growth and yield performance. The substrate containing 40–60% of tea waste resulted in the highest yield.

CONCLUSION: Tea waste could be used as an effective and economic substrate for oyster mushroom cultivation. This study also provided a useful way of dealing with massive amounts of tea waste.

I think this one will be a lot of fun! It’s short and to-the-point, and should inspire some great conversation about experimental design and how to apply these techniques to small-scale cultivation efforts.

I hope to see you there!

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I’ve been incredibly slow at announcing the next meeting :laughing:

@notplants, would you like to go ahead with a meeting tomorrow night (New Moon) or would you prefer to wait until Full Moon?

I was thinking we might read the paper on distilled water storage (which I mentioned in another thread):

Richter DL (2008). Revival of saprotrophic and mycorrhizal basidiomycete cultures after 20 years in cold storage in sterile water. Canadian journal of microbiology, 54(8), 595-599.

Link to the paper (PDF)

How does that soun?

that sounds great! and from my end I’d say lets wait until the full moon so we can give a bit more notice and see if anyone else is able to join

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Fifth Meeting :full_moon:

Date: Sunday, 28 March 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+1)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

Let’s learn more about culture preservation and revival!

Richter DL, Dixon TG, Smith JK (2016). Revival of saprotrophic and mycorrhizal basidiomycete cultures after 30 years in cold storage in sterile water. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 62(11), 932-937.

Link to the paper (PDF)

Abstract:

Vegetatively-colonized agar cores of 54 basidiomycete fungal isolates were stored at 5°C in tubes of sterile distilled water without manipulation for 30 years. The cultures represented 28 isolates of saprotrophic fungi and 26 isolates of mycorrhizal fungi. These cultures came from a group of 135 fungal isolates that were determined to be viable after 20 years of cold water storage. Overall, 47 of the 54 isolates (87%) grew vigorously when revived after storage for 30 years - of the 28 saprotrophic fungal isolates, 26 revived (93%); of the 26 mycorrhizal fungal isolates, 21 revived (81%). Eight of 13 isolates (62%) of Laccaria were viable after 30 years, which was considerably less viability than was found after 20 years for this genus of mycorrhizal fungi. However, a greater percentage of isolates of L. bicolor (83%) were viable than of L. laccata (43%) suggesting 30 years to be approaching the maximum limit for storage in cold sterile water for certain species. Considering the original 135 fungal isolates that were stored in sterile cold water from which this set was derived, overall survival after 30 years storage was 42%; however, saprotrophic fungi demonstrated considerably greater viability (70%) than mycorrhizal fungi (21%).

Keywords:

culture maintenance, culture viability, fungal preservation, long-term storage, mycorrhizal fungi, saprotrophic fungi

This should be a great paper and discussion for anyone involved in cultivation of mycelia. I’m sure we’ll have some deep conversations about culture preservation in the context of communal labs, cooperatives and sharing.

Let’s develop the knowledge and skills to ensure our great-great-great grandchildren can continue the relationships we’re forming with the fungi; humyn-fungal knots through spacetime.

I hope to see you there!

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just a reminder for anyone in Berlin that since we just had daylight savings time today,
the reading group this evening is at 20:00 Berlin time

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missed this discussion but this was a fantastic read and is still blowing my mind. i think i excitedly elaborated the points of this paper to like literally everyone in my life in the days after i read it.

has anybody here experiments with this method? (i’m guessing probably not for the spans of time in the paper, but anything >2 years or so?)

one of the things that i think deeply engages me in culture work is the capacity to keep a library of living backups. i just made my first viable transfer of some shiitake and pearl oyster strains kept in storage for about 7 months and at some point i was planning on trying to make some master slants, but this method blows all of that out of the water.

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Sixth Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Monday, 12 April 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

A very interesting question came up during our last call: can mycorrhizal fungi be harmful (in an ecological sense) when introduced to non-native habitats?

Let’s see what we can learn about this topic.

Schwartz MW, Hoeksema JD, Gehring CA, et al (2006). The promise and the potential consequences of the global transport of mycorrhizal fungal inoculum. Ecology Letters, 9(5), 501-515.

Link

Abstract:

Advances in ecology during the past decade have led to a much more detailed understanding of the potential negative consequences of species’ introductions. Moreover, recent studies of mycorrhizal symbionts have led to an increased knowledge of the potential utility of fungal inoculations in agricultural, horticultural and ecological management. The intentional movement of mycorrhizal fungal species is growing, but the concomitant potential for negative ecological consequences of invasions by mycorrhizal fungi is poorly understood. We assess the degree to which introductions of mycorrhizal fungi may lead to unintended negative, and potentially costly, consequences. Our purpose is to make recommendations regarding appropriate management guidelines and highlight top priority research needs. Given the difficulty in discerning invasive species problems associated with mycorrhizal inoculations, we recommend the following. First, careful assessment documenting the need for inoculation, and the likelihood of success, should be conducted prior to inoculation because inoculations are not universally beneficial. Second, invasive species problems are costly and often impossible to control by the time they are recognized. We recommend using local inoculum sources whenever possible. Third, non‐sterile cultures of inoculum can result in the movement of saprobes and pathogens as well as mutualists. We recommend using material that has been produced through sterile culture when local inoculum is not available. Finally, life‐history characteristics of inoculated fungi may provide general guidelines relative to the likelihood of establishment and spread. We recommend that, when using non‐local fungi, managers choose fungal taxa that carry life‐history traits that may minimize the likelihood of deleterious invasive species problems. Additional research is needed on the potential of mycorrhizal fungi to spread to non‐target areas and cause ecological damage.

Please message me if you need access to the paper. Looking forward to seeing and hearing some of you!

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Glad you enjoyed the paper! I was also amazed by the efficacy of such a simple technique! Peter McCoy mentions in Radical Mycology that the distilled water technique used to be much more popular but has somehow fallen out of popularity in recent years. Perhaps the increased availability of cultures has led to a decline in culture-backup management practices? The ‘I can always buy another one’ mentality, perhaps? I’m really excited to employ this technique into the future :slight_smile:

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one interesting things I’ve learned in this reading group so far is how the phases of the moon seem to roll through the days of the week. think we started on a wednesday and were at monday now… curious when we’ll get back to wednesday… learned lots of other interesting things too lol … buy enjoying this rhythm

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for anyone following along but who didn’t make it last night, highly recommend this last paper. its so good. great coverage of the topic, and also so much other interesting info included about cryptic genetic and morphological species, biogeographic mapping of mychorizzal fungi, and frameworks for thinking about invasive species in general

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