Thursday, 8 March 2007

#1 Introduction



My love of the outdoors and camping has always provided me with opportunities for experiencing and exploring nature, but only in recent years have I developed a fascination for the details of fungi and their intriguing lives.

What are fungi?

The 'mushroom' or 'toadstool' that we see in the field, garden or natural environment is referred to as the fruiting body, and is only a small portion of the fungus.

The main, and mostly unseen part of the fungus, is made up of microscopic threads (called hyphae), which weave their way through the soil, wood or other dead or living organisms. A mass of hyphae is called a mycelium.

It is these unseen creeping microscopic threads that are the earth's main recycling agents, decomposing dead plant material and returning nutrients to the soil. When conditions are favourable, a mycelium may send out a reproductive organ, which is the fungus fruiting body that we see and admire.

The kingdom of fungi

Fungi do not belong to the kingdom of plants. They have a kingdom of their own. Unlike plants, fungi do not possess chlorophyll, therefore they are not dependent upon sunlight. They do not produce their own food, so are either scavengers or parisites absorbing nourishment from the substrate.

Upon maturity of the fruiting body, fungus spores are released and dispersed by the wind, water, animals, people or other means, providing the fungus with an opportunity to spread and start new colonies.

Navigating my blog

I have linked several internet sites on the right-hand column of my blog home page for detailed fungi reading. Also on the right-hand column, I will list fungus blog entries by colour, for quick searching. Below that, I have divided fungus entries into loose groups.

If readers have any other suggestions for easier navigation or appropriate presentation, I will welcome ideas.

I am not a mycologist, but rather, an enthusiastic amateur. I do not have expertise or specialised equipment for studying fungi, therefore my identifications are often not confirmed. If readers think I have made a mistake, please let me know.

I hope, in time, this blog will form a useful reference for others interested in fungi.

10 comments:

Evan said...

Cool blog! Just wanted to say that the photo up top is brilliant. I've never seen such diversity of fungi on one log, it is a great find.

Keep up the good work, this looks like it will be a great resource in the future.

Evan

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Evan, and thank you for the encouragement.

That log was a brilliant find and the photo does not do it justice. It was on a slope in a confined space (in Barrington Tops NP) and I didn't have much room for my tripod - and it was before the days that I had a digital camera, so I only took a couple of shots.

Regards
Gaye

Esperance Blog said...

As Evan said, really a marvellous project. Looks like you are going to be very busy soon.

All the best
Jack

Gaye from the Hunter said...

Jack, thank you also for the encouragement. I will no doubt learn a lot about fungi, the environment and myself as I progress with this project.

Regards
Gaye

Les from Albany said...

Great blog and super photos!
I have a gallery of local fungi and lots more pictures to sort.
If anybody has clues to names or wants to comment there is a link from my homepage.

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hello Les,

Thank you for leaving a comment here. I'm glad you like my fungi blog. Fungi are fascinating, arn't they? I also have a nature blog here:

http://hvbackyard.blogspot.com/

Your fungi photography is stunning !!

I will suggest some possible identifications later today or over the next few days when I have more time. I have also briefly checked out your website which looks extremely interesting from a nature enthusiast's and outdoor enthusiast's view, and will be looking forward to checking it out in detail.

Last year I visited the Albany district and enjoyed my time there immensely.

Regards
Gaye

tomt said...

Just discovered your site.
Lived on the Blue Tier in Tasmania for over 30 years and have just discovered the rich fungal life just below my nose. Totally overwhelmed by their sheer diversity.
Thank you for providing such a useful site. I hope to spend many hours going over your notes and images.

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi tomt,

thank you for leaving a comment, and I hope you find some of my fungi entries helpful.

Once these fascinating life forms are discovered literally under our feet, it is easy to become consumed in the intriguing world of fungi.

Have fun with it. You must surely live in a beautiful and interesting part of Australia.

I hope to start regularly updating my site with new fungi finds.

Cheers
Gaye

wholelarderlove.com said...

So glad I discovered your blog! Can't wait for next season!

Shaz said...

I am in Far North Qld and am also fascinated by Fungi so am so glad I have now found you Blog.