Lecture: Fungus Wars, followed by BSS AGM


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh


Professor Lynne Boddy, University of Cardiff


Thursday, 18 May, 2017 - 18:00

Fungi are rarely found growing alone in nature but usually in communities of other fungi, and also bacteria. Since they are all competing for space and resources, antagonistic interactions are the norm – fungi fight each other!. There are several ways in which fungi ‘attack’ and ‘defend’ their territory: (1) antagonism at a distance; (2) hyphal interference; (3) mycoparasitism; and (4) gross mycelial interaction. Their chemical arsenal includes enzymes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and diffusible organic compounds (DOCs). The overall outcome of their battles can be: deadlock – where neither combatant makes any headway; replacement – where one fungus takes the territory of another; and also partial and mutual replacement. These outcomes vary between species combinations and fungal strains, and are altered by microclimate, the quantity and quality of their food, where the interaction is occurring, presence of other fungi and grazing activity by invertebrates. During interactions, gene expression changes, VOC and DOC production changes, as does the rate of decay of the organic resource upon which the fungi are feeding. Mycelial interactions can alter nutrient movement and allocation within opposing mycelia and alter carbon allocation from plants to fungi in mycorrhizal relationships.
Lynne Boddy is Professor of Mycology at Cardiff University, where she teaches and researches into fungal ecology, a topic that has fascinated her for 40 years. Her favourite areas of research are into the ways in which fungi fight each other and form communities, and the ways in which they search the forest floor for food resources and respond to their finds. She is a prolific author having co-authored Fungal Decomposition of Wood, edited six books, written well over 200 scientific papers, and is chief editor of the journal Fungal Ecology. She was (2009–2010) president of the British Mycological Society. Lynne is an ardent communicator of the mysteries and importance of the amazing hidden Kingdom of Fungi to the general public having, for example, taken part in a public debate on ‘what are the most important organisms on the planet?’ –speaking for fungi, of course. She jointly put together a gold medal winning display on the role of fungi, in the continuing education section at the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. She was also an active member of the steering committee for the ‘From Another Kingdom’ exhibition (Aug-Nov 2010) at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

This lecture will be followed by the AGM of the BSS.
Tea available from 17:30. All welcome for the lecture.


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