Monthly Archives: August 2015

Non-native invader spread by unnatural bird sex shock horror!

I’m sorry, this isn’t really a post about unnatural bird sex, it’s about mycology in general and truffles in particular. But, there is a non-nativist ecological link, and the bird sex provides a pertinent example. I return to this a bit later on.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a worldclass lecture on mycology right here in Braidwood as part of the inaugural “Truffle Time in the ‘Wood” festival. The presenters were Professor James Trappe, Dr Andrew Claridge and Todd Elliott. What follows is principally my recollection of the information presented by these three engaging speakers. The festival as a whole involved too many folks to mention individually in this post, but see below for a summary of participants and contributors.*

I’m not a mycologist, but I’d always thought I had a workable understanding of the ecology of fungi, they’re the decomposers of our ecosystems, right? They breakdown dead bodies and wastes and release various nutrients back into ecological circulation. Apart from the odd fruiting body, they’re hard to spot, mostly underground; very much out of sight and out of mind.

I now realise, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about fungi, and there’s a lot going on that’s worth considering. Continue reading