Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

News for Fungi enthusiasts, plus Slime Moulds

Good News for Fungi enthusiasts.

Don Gover from the Sydney Fungal Studies group sent me a copy of an email from Lee Speedy, the new co-ordinator of FungiMap, which is associated with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. That itself is good news - that they have appointed someone. Or have they attracted yet another volunteer? The world of science would collapse without volunteers, it seems.

Anyway, here is a link to the page where all the Fungimap Newsletters are published. A useful historical resource.

The latest Newsletter, No. 35 - August 2008 has lots of good contact details for State-based groups interested in Fungi, and, best of all, the contacts lists are Australia-wide.
Read it here.

So, Gaye and Mosura and Junior Lepid and Duncan and Gouldiae and Boobook and Mark and Sherryl and Sarah and all you other Aussie Nature Bloggers with an interest in fungi, this is a really useful link. You might just find there are other fungi experts in your backyard who perhaps you didn't know about - or more likely you just didn't quite know how to contact them. This is not actually a list of names or emails, of course, but the various State-based groups are contactable.

Happy fungi hunting!

I shall not be posting for a few days. A planned break, not a collapse, but then again, given how hard I have been working on the Kangaloon Aquifer issue recently, it might be both.

For Sherryl who was discussing Slime Moulds the other day, here are two photos of different stages of one which looks like "dogs vomit". The first is the "motile stage" (mobile) and the second is the spore-forming stage. Effectively these things "crawl" up grass stems or tree trunks until they are high enough to be able to spread their spores. They are mobile, but barely so, - most only move a few inches, but the black-red one was about 1 metre off the ground. But I don't know where it started from - if you get my point.

Anyway, the ability to move or relocate is a "break-through" in evolutionary terms, if you get my drift. These days the Slime Moulds are regarded as their own "kingdom" - not within the Fungi, but Fungi books are the only place you will find easily accessible (or rather comprehensible) information about them.

Some Slime Moulds look like bright yellow or orange blobs and others are like black hairs growing in a group. Very weird creatures, these things.

"Dog Vomit" Slime Mould - "motile stage"

"Dog Vomit" Slime Mould - Spore-producing stage
This is the spore-producing stage of a Slime Mould.
Probably a Stemonitis sp.
Very dark stems, with rich red-brown spores - a very fine powder.
In the forest the whole structure looked almost black.
You had to look closely to see it was like a series of hairs, not a single blob.
This was taken with flash, and lightened slightly so you can make out details.
Click on image to blow it up.


Mosura said...

I been meaning to go to the fungi map page so thanks for the wee push.

Some weird and wonderful fungi in those pics you posted.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura

Thanks. Its the addresses of the local societies which I figured would be of most value. But of course, the Fungimap itself is useful. They have had two internet addresses for ages, though, which is a bit silly - the old site and the new one. Still, I can live with that.

As for the weirdness factor, these guys do take the cake. There is a Sci-Fi movie waiting to be made about fungi - and ones that can crawl up your leg while you are asleep would be a good start.
I have also heard of true horror stories of people having sniffed fungi (presumably to detect their distinctive odour), and ended up - months later - with real live fungi (not just "tinea") growing out of their nostrils.
That's scary.