Mycology Reading Group

Eighth Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Tuesday, 11 May 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

My sincere apologies for posting this so late. I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with a new work project.

Time for another ecology paper. I’m really excited about this one! If you’ve been wanting to join these meetings but haven’t quite worked up the courage - this could be a great round to jump in! The paper is short and relatively accessible and I think the conversation is going to be super interesting. We are friendly humyns and do our very best to provide a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Jusino MA, Lindner DL, Banik MT, et al. (2016). Experimental evidence of a symbiosis between red-cockaded woodpeckers and fungi. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1827).

Link to the open-access paper (PDF)

Abstract:

Primary cavity excavators, such as woodpeckers, are ecosystem engineers in many systems. Associations between cavity excavators and fungi have long been hypothesized to facilitate cavity excavation, but these relationships have not been experimentally verified. Fungi may help excavators by softening wood, while excavators may facilitate fungal dispersal. Here we demonstrate that excavators facilitate fungal dispersal and thus we report the first experimental evidence of a symbiosis between fungi and a cavity excavator, the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW,Picoides borealis). Swab samples of birds showed that RCWs carry fungal communities similar to those found in their completed excavations. A 26-month field experiment using human-made aseptically drilled excavations in live trees, half of which were inaccessible to RCWs, demonstrated that RCWs directly alter fungal colonization and community composition. Experimental excavations that were accessible to RCWs contained fungal communities similar to natural RCW excavations, whereas inaccessible experimental excavations contained significantly different fungal communities. Our work demonstrates a complex symbiosis between cavity excavators and communities of fungi, with implications for forest ecology, wildlife management, and conservation.

I’m going to test out my live recording setup now to be sure we can record our meeting this time around :slight_smile:

Hope to see some of you there!

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Thanks to the terrific efforts of @notplants, we now have a PeerTube instance for hosting and sharing ecology videos :smiley_cat:

We recorded the last meeting of the reading group and are happy to be able to share it with you all. I’ll do my best to keep up with this recording and uploading practice.

Any thoughts or feedback - whether about the content of the discussion / paper or about the recording - are welcome!

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Kate and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you two discuss this paper! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts (and for the invite). Really fascinating topic which also inspired me to learn more about woodpeckers in general - and led me to this podcast episode about two particular species local to our region which I’ve wondered about.

I have a rather limited capacity for online stuff right now (and am reconfiguring my lifestyle/schedule more broadly), but am hoping to join a future session :^) In the least, I look forward to tuning into any other recordings.

Truth be told, my understanding of mycology in general is very light, but I’m also keen to learn more about topics in this realm. I’ll see what I can do to work Hyphal Fusion into my newforming circuit!

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Ah @umhi, so lovely to see you here! Thanks so much for taking a listen; it makes me stoked to hear that you and Kate enjoyed the conversation and that it led you to learn more about woodpeckers in your area. Thanks as well for the link to The Field Guides podcast. I think I might have listened to an episode last year sometime, or maybe they featured on the In Defense of Plants podcast…can’t quite recall.

Best wishes for your reconfiguration - sounds exciting. You are always welcome to join. Please do let us know if there’s ever a particular time which suits you best and we can make a plan. I plan on continuing with the recordings as well.

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Ninth Meeting :full_moon:

Date: Wednesday, 26 May 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

It’s about time we had some ethnomycological action in this reading group! Broadly speaking, ethnomycology is the study of the relationships between humyns and fungi across spacetime. It can be considered a close cousin of ethnobotany - both of which are subcategories within the field of ethnobiology - and is often approached in an interdisciplinary manner, weaving together theory and methods from art history, anthropology, archaeology, mycology, ecology and beyond.

I am really looking forward to reading and discussing this paper:

Garibay-Orijel R, Ramírez-Terrazo A & Ordaz-Velázquez M. (2012). Women care about local knowledge, experiences from ethnomycology. Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, 8(1), 1-13.

Link to the open-access paper (PDF)

Abstract:

Gender is one of the main variables that influence the distribution of local knowledge. We carried out a literature review concerning local mycological knowledge, paying special attention to data concerning women’s knowledge and comparative gender data. We found that unique features of local mycological knowledge allow people to successfully manage mushrooms. Women are involved in every stage of mushroom utilization from collection to processing and marketing. Local mycological knowledge includes the use mushrooms as food, medicine, and recreational objects as well as an aid to seasonal household economies. In many regions of the world, women are often the main mushroom collectors and possess a vast knowledge about mushroom taxonomy, biology, and ecology. Local experts play a vital role in the transmission of local mycological knowledge. Women participate in the diffusion of this knowledge as well as in its enrichment through innovation. Female mushroom collectors appreciate their mycological knowledge and pursue strategies and organization to reproduce it in their communities. Women mushroom gatherers are conscious of their knowledge, value its contribution in their subsistence systems, and proudly incorporate it in their cultural identity.

I intend to record the discussion so we can share the video afterwards. Looking forward to seeing and hearing some of you!

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Thanks, @glyph! Hopefully one or both of us can join the next meeting for at least part, sounds like another fascinating paper :^)

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a thought writing here before I forget, could be nice to do a meeting sometime where we briefly review all the papers we’ve read so far. maybe the 12th meeting, half-solar-cycle.

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Hey folx, I dropped the ball this time around so we won’t be meeting on New Moon. The next meeting will be on Full Moon. Let’s just consider this a rest period between flushes.

I’d love to hear any suggestions for papers or topics for discussion! What would you like to learn about?

Tenth Meeting :full_moon:

Date: Thursday, 24 June 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

Another short-notice meeting. What can ya do? With more and more catastrophic fires occurring as climate change intensifies, perhaps it would be worthwhile to learn more about fire-adapted fungi; those species which can survive fires and even rely on them to complete their life-cycles.

Raudabaugh DB, Matheny PB, Hughes KW, et al. (2020). Where are they hiding? Testing the body snatchers hypothesis in pyrophilous fungi. Fungal Ecology, 43, 100870.

Link to the open-access paper (PDF)

Abstract:

Pyrophilous fungi produce sporocarps after a fire but little is known about their ecology prior to or after a fire event. Recently, the body snatchers hypothesis was proposed that suggests some post-fire fungi form endophytic and/or endolichenic relationships with plants and lichens. To test the body snatchers hypothesis, bryophyte, lichen, club moss, and soil samples were collected from unburned and mixed-intensity burned areas 1–2 y after a 2016 wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and from unburned areas in four states outside the park. Samples were examined for the presence of pyrophilous fungi occurring as endophytes or in lichens using culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques. Culture-dependent methods isolated Pholiota highlandensis, a known pyrophilous fungus, from five bryophyte samples. Culture-independent methods identified 22 pyrophilous taxa from bryophyte, club moss, lichen, and soil samples across a range of geographical localities. The ‘body snatchers’ hypothesis is supported since many bryophyte, lichen, and club moss samples contained pyrophilous taxa suggesting that these fungi occur as endophytes and/or endolichenic fungi until a fire event triggers them to produce sporocarps.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted the recording of the last meeting, I accidentally misconfigured the capture software and the audio from @notplants was not recorded :sweat: I figured it would be best to spare you all a one-sided conversation. I shall endeavour to configure things correctly this time around!

As always, I hope to see some of you there! If you’d like to join the call and simply listen - please feel free. No pressure - all modalities of being are welcome.

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The recording from yesterday’s meeting is up. The audio is not terrific on this one but hopefully it’s still tolerable to you all. It was quite late in the day for me and I spoke very softly -_-

Thanks so much for joining me @notplants . If you’re able to use headphones next time, I think we can prevent the glitchy squeaks :slight_smile:

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Eleventh Meeting :full_moon:

Date: Saturday, 24 July 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

As far as I can recall, we’ve yet to read a paper dealing with fungal - bacterial interactions. I stumbled upon just such a paper yesterday, one which deals with collaborative microbial transport.

Here’s my simplistic rendering of the relationship described by the paper:

Conidia (nonmotile asexual fungal spores) of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus are carried by the swarming bacterium Paenibacillus vortex. The bacteria rescue and transport the spores away from adverse conditions. This aids in fungal dispersal. When encountering an impassable air gap, the bacterial swarm releases the fungal spores which then germinate and form a mycelial bridge; the bacteria cross the bridge.

Ingham CJ, Kalisman O, Finkelshtein A, Ben-Jacob E (2011). Mutually facilitated dispersal between the nonmotile fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and the swarming bacterium Paenibacillus vortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(49):19731-6.

Link to the open-access paper (PDF)
Link to a popular science summary of the paper on ScienceDaily

Abstract:

In the heterogeneous environment surrounding plant roots (the rhizosphere), microorganisms both compete and cooperate. Here, we show that two very different inhabitants of the rhizosphere, the nonmotile fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and the swarming bacterium Paenibacillus vortex, can facilitate each other’s dispersal. A. fumigatus conidia (nonmotile asexual fungal spores) can be transported by P. vortex swarms over distances of at least 30 cm and at rates of up to 10.8 mm h−1. Moreover, conidia can be rescued and transported by P. vortex from niches of adverse growth conditions. Potential benefit to the bacteria may be in crossing otherwise impenetrable barriers in the soil: fungal mycelia seem to act as bridges to allow P. vortex to cross air gaps in agar plates. Transport of conidia was inhibited by proteolytic treatment of conidia or the addition of purified P. vortex flagella, suggesting specific contacts between flagella and proteins on the conidial surface. Conidia were transported by P. vortex into locations where antibiotics inhibited bacteria growth, and therefore, growth and sporulation of A. fumigatus were not limited by bacterial competition. Conidia from other fungi, similar in size to those fungi from A. fumigatus, were not transported as efficiently by P. vortex. Conidia from a range of fungi were not transported by another closely related rhizosphere bacterium, Paenibacillus polymyxa, or the more distantly related Proteus mirabilis, despite both being efficient swarmers.

This will be our last meeting before the review meeting, during which we will reflect on the 11 papers read thus far :slight_smile:

Hope to see some of you there!

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I just finished reading this paper and it is a certified banger!

Here’s the recording of the 11th meeting. Super fun conversation!

Twelth Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Sunday, 8 August 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

Having completed the first cycle of the reading group, we’ll meet to discuss the 11 papers we have read so far, what has worked well, what could be improved, and what we’d like to learn and explore in the second cycle :slight_smile:

I feel super happy about what we’ve achieved with this reading group! Here are the titles of all the papers we’ve read so far:

  • Fungus wars: basidiomycete battles in wood decay
  • Analysis of fungal networks
  • Phylogenetic patterns of ant–fungus associations indicate that farming strategies, not only a superior fungal cultivar, explain the ecological success of leafcutter ants
  • Tea waste: an effective and economic substrate for oyster mushroom cultivation
  • Revival of saprotrophic and mycorrhizal basidiomycete cultures after 30 years in cold storage in sterile water
  • The promise and the potential consequences of the global transport of mycorrhizal fungal inoculum
  • Fruiting body production in basidiomycetes
  • Experimental evidence of a symbiosis between red-cockaded woodpeckers and fungi
  • Women care about local knowledge, experiences from ethnomycology
  • Where are they hiding? Testing the body snatchers hypothesis in pyrophilous fungi
  • Mutually facilitated dispersal between the nonmotile fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and the swarming bacterium Paenibacillus vortex

This is a great opportunity to get in on the action, even if you haven’t previously participated in the meetings. I hope some of you will join @notplants and I for another fun conversation.

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I believe the new moon (in Leo) is sunday august 8th, not august 10th. Which I think is what you meant — see you then !

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One topic I was thinking about for future meetings, is to look at some fungi conservation research, maybe even an overview of how people do monitoring and advocacy for fungi conservation. related, would also be curious to learn more about which species are endemic and which are wide-spread.

partially inspired by this article https://faunaflorafunga.org

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Good catch! Thanks for letting me know. I’ve updated the post to reflect the correct date.

Great idea. I’m dropping a few references here which I’ll look at more closely in the coming weeks:

Goncalves S, Haelwaters D, Furci G, Mueller G (2021). Include all fungi in biodiversity goals. Science, 403, 23 Jul 2021.

May TW, Cooper JA, Dahlberg A, Furci G, Minter DW, Mueller GM et al. (2019).
Recognition of the discipline of conservation mycology. Conservation Biology, 33(3), 733–736.

Ainsworth AM, Canteiro C, Dahlberg A, Douglas B, Furci G, Mueller GGM, et al. (2018). Conservation of Fungi. In State of the World’s Fungi, Willis K, ed. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Likewise!

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II: First Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Tuesday, 7 September 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

It’s time to begin the second cycle of the reading group! We’re going to be trying out a thematic focus this time around. As @notplants wrote in the independent research thread:

One thing we discussed, was to explore possible “themes” through mini-series or research topics that we might go into more depth with, even at some point coming up with a research question that we could use to guide the reading group, and see if we could someday write an independent paper and get it published (even if the question were a small one).

Two of the themes we chatted about are fire and compost. Let’s start by exploring fire and fungi for the first few meetings and see how we go :slight_smile:

I’m going to suggest a paper on fire and fungi in Australian ecosystems to get us started. While the paper has a strong geographic focus, it nonetheless does a great job of summarising many aspects of fire-fungus interactions and should serve as an excellent introductory paper to the subject matter. It also has lots of beautiful photos - bonus!

McMullan-Fisher SJ, May TW, Robinson RM, Bell TL, Lebel T, Catcheside P, York A. Fungi and fire in Australian ecosystems: a review of current knowledge, management implications and future directions. Australian Journal of Botany. 2011 Feb 10; 59(1):70-90. PDF link.

All are welcome to attend! If you’re a bit shy and would like to come and listen - without committing to speaking - that’s totally cool! @notplants and I would love to have you there.

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II: Second Meeting :new_moon:

Date: Wednesday, 6 October 02021
Time: 19:00 (UTC+2)
Place: Jitsi Meeting Room (video call)
Duration: 60 minutes
Language: English

Our last meeting - dealing with the interaction of fire and fungi - taught us a lot and led us to realise once-again the deep interconnections of plants and fungi.

It’s tricky to summarise the paper in one paragraph but my main takeaway was that low-intensity fire mosaics (“patchy” through space and time) yield the greatest diversity of fungal species. Some species fruit right after a fire, while some may only appear on land that has gone many decades without a fire event. A high-intensity fire which sweeps across a landscape and burns everything in one go is ultimately detrimental to diversity.

@notplants suggested we learn more about the relationship of fire and plants as a way to complement our newfound understanding.

Here’s a paper I found which seems to offer a broad review of post-fire plant regeneration:

Buhk C, Meyn A, Jentsch A. The challenge of plant regeneration after fire in the Mediterranean Basin: scientific gaps in our knowledge on plant strategies and evolution of traits. Plant Ecology. 2007 Sep; 192(1):1-9. PDF link.

Looking forward to the conversation!

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Here’s a short video about post-fire fungal activity in Australia:

The world looked on in horror as Australia burned in one of the worst bushfire seasons on record. The forest was devastated but surprisingly mushrooms started appearing within days of the fires going through.

In the months after the fire fungi obsessives Stephen Axford and Catherine Marciniak documented the fungi coming up on the Mt Nardi fireground and its surprising and vital role in helping the forest regenerate after the fire.

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