How Fungi Saved the World — Feed the data monster. By the dawn of the Carboniferous period, plants developed a new kind of support material, called lignin. Lignin was an improvement development over cellulose in several ways: it was harder, more rigid, and, being more complex, almost impossible to digest, which made it ideal for protecting cellulose. With lignin, plants could make wood, and it lead to the first treelike growth form. One of the early founders of these primeval forests was Lepidodendron (from the Greek lepido meaning “scale” and dendron meaning “tree,” so named for the leaf scars that resulted in a scaly trunk).
Lepidodendron wasn't a true tree but a member of an early offshoot of the higher plants known as lycopods, today comprised of the much smaller club mosses and quillworts. Based on reconstructions of the fossils, it is estimated that Lepidodendron stood a stately 100 feet tall, putting it at the very top range of the early flora and head and shoulders above many trees that exist today. Basidiocarp with gills lining the underside. Fungi. Useful Reading Campbell, Biology 6th Ed - Chapter 31, pgs 616-632Campbell, Biology 7th Ed - Chapter 31, pgs 608-625 Vocabulary Hyphae – long filaments in the body of a fungus. Mycelium – the fungus body; a collection of interconnecting hyphae. Heterothallic – when a fungus has two mating types (+ and -).
Sporangia – fruiting bodies involved in asexual production of spores. Conidiophores – fruiting bodies involved in asexual production of conidia spores. Basidiocarps – fruiting bodies involved in production of sexual spores only in Basidiomycetes. Gametangia – reproductive tissue formed between two hyphae of complementary mating type during sexual reproduction. Taxonomy, Structure, and Diversity – Kingdom Fungi Kingdom Fungi is made up of multicellular eukaryotes.
Chytridiomycota (fossil fungus) Zygomycota Ascomycota (the sac fungi) Basidiomycota (the club fungi-mushrooms) Structure: In most fungi, cells are haploid. Hyphae and mycelium The fungal phyla differ in life cycles and modes of reproduction. Basidiocarp. Schematic of a typical basidiocarp, showing fruiting body, hymenium and basidia Structure Types Basidiocarps of Ramaria rugosa, a coral fungus Basidiocarps are classified into various types of growth forms based on the degree of differentiation into a stipe, pileus, and hymenophore, as well as the type of hymenophore, if present. Growth forms include: Basic divisions of Agaricomycotina were formerly based entirely upon the growth form of the mushroom. See also Ascocarp External links Evolution & Morphology in the Homobasidiomycetes: The Clade/Morphology Chart by Gary Lincoff & Michael Wood, MykoWeb, November 27, 2005. " Basidium. Schematic showing a basidiomycete mushroom, gill structure, and spore-bearing basidia on the gill margins.
A basidium (pl., basidia) is a microscopic, spore-producing structure found on the hymenophore of fruiting bodies of basidiomycete fungi. The presence of basidia is one of the main characteristic features of the Basidiomycota. A basidium usually bears four sexual spores called basidiospores; occasionally the number may be two or even eight. In a typical basidium, each basidiospore is borne at the tip of a narrow prong or horn called a sterigma (pl. sterigmata), and is forcibly discharged upon maturity. Basidium structure Mechanism of basidiospore discharge In most basidiomycetes, the basidiospores are ballistospores--they are forcibly discharged.
Upon maturity of a basidiospore, sugars present in the cell wall begin to serve as condensation loci for water vapor in the air. Evolutionary loss of forcible discharge References Ingold, C.T. 1998. External links Basidiospore. Basidiomycetes form sexual spores externally from a structure called a basidium. Four basidiospores develop on appendages from each basidium. These spores serve as the main air dispersal units for the fungi.
The spores are released during periods of high humidity and generally have a night-time or pre-dawn peak concentration in the atmosphere. When basidiospores encounter a favorable substrate, they may germinate, typically by forming hyphae. General structure and shape Basidiospores are generally characterized by an attachment peg (called a hilar appendage) on its surface. Potential opportunist and Pathogen: Depend on genus. Industrial uses: Edible mushrooms are used in the food industry. Potential Toxins produced: Amanitins, monomethyl-hydrazine, muscarine, ibotenic acid, psilocybin. Basidiospores are the result of sexual reproduction and formed on a structure called the basidium. References Conidium. Conidia on conidiophores Conidia, sometimes termed asexual chlamydospores, or chlamydoconida  are asexual, non-motile spores of a fungus and are named after the Greek word for dust, skoni.
They are also called mitospores due to the way they are generated through the cellular process of mitosis. The two new haploid cells are genetically identical to the haploid parent, and can develop into new organisms if conditions are favorable, and serve in biological dispersal. Asexual reproduction in Ascomycetes (the Phylum Ascomycota) is by the formation of conidia, which are borne on specialized stalks called conidiophores.
The morphology of these specialized conidiophores is often distinctive of a specific species and can therefore be used in identification of the species. The terms "microconidia" and "macroconidia" are sometimes used. Conidiogenesis There are two main types of conidium development: Conidia germination Structures for release of conidia See also Conidia spores. 20 Pictures of Mushrooms That are Scary Cool. My mother always told me I was a fun guy, I guess she was right! Okay, that was corny, but I needed an introduction. The 20 pictures of mushrooms that follow are pretty intense. I never knew simple spores could create such beauty in nature.
First we present the common name of the species and then the class and species. Enjoy! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Don’t these photos just make you want to head out in the forest and start turning over logs to see what you will find? Update: Many people have been writing in and asking which of these mushrooms are actually edible. Number 18. Source: Distractify. Sporangia & Zygosporangia. Home >> What fungi are >> How fungi reproduce >> Sexual reproduction >> Sporangia Among the true fungi only the Chytridiomycota and Zygomycota reproduce sexually by means of sporangia. The Chytridiomycota are themselves a diverse group of fungi. They may have simple life histories with zygotic meiosis or, as in the mosquito parasite Coelomomyces, complex diplobiontic cycles.
In all cases reproduction is by means of sporangiospores, spores borne inside sporangia that were the site of meiosis of diploid nuclei. The photo at left shows a single sporangium of Chytridium sp. developing on a pollen grain of red pine floating in pond water. Sexual reproduction in the Zygomycota involves the production of zygosporangia and zygospores. The two pictures above show zygospores of Absidia spinosa, a common fungus in soil. Home >> What fungi are >> How fungi reproduce >> Sexual reproduction >> Sporangia.
Bat-Killing Fungus Spreads West. Researchers have detected the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome, which decimates bat populations, in Arkansas. A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in Greeley Mine, VermontWIKIMEDIA, US FISH AND WILFLIFE SERVICEThe fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that has already killed millions of bats in the United States, has been detected as far west as Arkansas, reported BBC News. The fungus, Geomyces destructans, was found in two caves in the state, but so far there is no sign of the disease in the bat population. “These are pretty far west occurrences,” Ann Froschauer of the US Fish and Wildlife Service told the BBC. “We do have one potential site further west in western Oklahoma, but these latest cases are the most western confirmed cases to date.” WNS was first discovered in a cave in New York State in 2006 and has since swept through 22 other states and five Canadian provinces, killing almost 7 million bats along the way.
Chytrid Fungus - The Frog Killer. Algae + Fungi = Symbiotic Lichen. Rainy season brings glow-in-the-dark mushrooms. 24 May 2006 With the arrival of Japan's rainy season, a mysterious type of green, glow-in-the-dark mushroom begins to sprout in Wakayama prefecture. The Mycena lux-coeli mushrooms, known locally as shii no tomobishi-dake (literally, "chinquapin glow mushrooms"), sprout from fallen chinquapin trees.
As they grow, a chemical reaction involving luciferin (a light-emitting pigment contained within the mushrooms) occurs, causing them to glow a ghostly green. The luminescent mushrooms were long believed to be indigenous solely to Tokyo's Hachijojima Island after they were discovered there in the early 1950s. In 1995, however, mycologists found the fungus growing wild in coastal areas of the southern Kii peninsula, as well as in Kyushu and other areas. The mushrooms thrive in humid environments, popping up during Japan's rainy season, which typically lasts from the end of May to July.
[Source: Mainichi Shimbun] High concentration of basidiocarps on moss-covered tree. Chytridiomycota. Life cycle & body plan Brief taxonomic history Habitats Ecological functions Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis The chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is responsible for chytridiomycosis, a disease of amphibians. Other parasites Chytrids mainly infect algae and other eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes. Saprobes Arguably, the most important ecological function chytrids perform is decomposition. These ubiquitous and cosmopolitan organisms are responsible for decomposition of refractory materials, such as pollen, cellulose, chitin, and keratin. There are also chytrids that live and grow on pollen by attaching threadlike structures, the called rhizoids, onto the pollen grains. This mostly occurs during asexual reproduction because the zoospores that become attached to the pollen continuously reproduce and form new chytrids that will attach to other pollen grains for nutrients.
Fossil record In fictional media References Magic Mushrooms may have Cure for Depression.