Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The mushrooms, my friend, are blowing in the wind…

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics
Summary:
Biologists have long thought that the spores produced by a mushroom’s cap simply drop into the wind and blow away. The problem with that notion, scientists say, is that spores can be dispersed even when the air is still. So how do the mushrooms do it? A team of researchers believe they have found the answer: mushrooms make their own wind.

Plants use a variety of methods to spread their seeds, including gravity, forceful ejection, and wind, water, and animal dispersion. But what of the mushrooms, whose spores also need to be strewn far and wide to ensure their propagation?

Biologists have long thought that the spores produced by a mushroom’s cap simply drop into the wind and blow away. The problem with that notion, said Emilie Dressaire, a professor of experimental fluid mechanics at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., is that spores can be dispersed even when the air is still. So how do the mushrooms do it? Dressaire, along with Marcus Roper of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), believe they have found the answer: they make their own wind.

Dressaire will present the findings in a talk today at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD), held Nov. 24-26, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Using high-speed videography and mathematical modeling of spore dispersal in commercially grown oyster and Shiitake mushrooms, Dressaire, Roper, and their students found that the fungi created their wind by releasing water vapor. The vapor cools the air locally, and this creates convective cells that move the air around in the mushroom’s vicinity.

Dressaire said these air movements are strong enough to lift the spores clear of the mushroom. As a result, she continued, “mushrooms are able to disperse their spores even in the most inhospitable surroundings.”

The team believes this evaporative cooling process might be used to some degree by all mushroom-producing fungi, including those that cause disease in plants, animals, and humans.

“Most people, even scientists, think of mushrooms simply as machines for producing spores,” Roper said. “The more spores each machine produces, the more likely it to successfully colonize new habitats.” But the new work suggests that there is much more going on.

“Our research shows that these ‘machines’ are much more complex than that: they control their local environments, and create winds where there were none in nature,” Dressaire said. “That’s pretty amazing, but fungi are ingenious engineers.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. "The mushrooms, my friend, are blowing in the wind…." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121154.htm>.
American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. (2013, November 25). The mushrooms, my friend, are blowing in the wind…. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121154.htm
American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. "The mushrooms, my friend, are blowing in the wind…." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121154.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins