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Carolina Backyard Naturalist – Mycology (10/6/21)

en Español / em Português

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Fantastic Fungi – An Introduction to Mushroom Diversity, Reproduction, and Fungal Ecology

As an introduction to North Carolina fungal diversity and identification, we will explore the many interesting general forms mushroom take, while illustrating notable examples from North Carolina. We will briefly consider the lifecycles of certain fungal groups (Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes) to illustrate the role that mushrooms serve in sexual reproduction. The mushrooms are produced by important vegetative organisms that are generally invisible, but can be very large and long-lived, and perform critical ecosystem functions. Among other interesting ecological interactions, we will consider the roles of these fungal mycelia in recycling nutrients in ecosystems as decomposers, and their interactions with other organisms as plant pathogens and mutualistic symbionts required by plants.

Presenter: Dr. John Walker

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biology,  Appalachian State University

Dr. John WalkerMy research focuses on the relationship between plants and symbiotic fungi and the diversity and systematics of ectomycorrhizal fungi. This research is driven by a desire to understand how critical ecosystem functions depend on mycorrhizal fungi and how the fungi in turn adapt to environmental conditions. We have demonstrated that ectomycorrhizal fungus diversity is exceptionally high in the Appalachian Mountains , and indicated that large areas of undisturbed forest are needed to protect the many species that occur infrequently throughout the region.

Presentation Slides

Additional Resources

Mushroom Expert

iNaturalist Mushrooms/Fungi 

Mushrooms of the Southeastern United States

Mushrooms of the Southeast