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?

Related Articles


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 January 29, 2015 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 January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Harvard researchers found that girls who consumed more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day had their first period earlier than those who drank less. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Conservationists and scientists hold talks in Kenya to come up with a last ditch plan to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction. Duration: 01:06 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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