Cornell University


Explore your world with tape

The man with the mouldy car needed an answer fast. It was not a matter of the tax value of the mould or the car, just that law required that the car be inspected. The unionists being unwilling, he would enter the car himself. What should he do? I had a vision of him removing the entire seat and hauling it to my lab, and then me trying to flatten it so it could be stored in our herbarium. But instead, I told him…

stumpy ooze

Tree slime, stump flux and microbial consortia

It’s Spring in the northern woods, so other-worldly orange and pink slime is oozing out of hardwood stumps. What could this possibly be? Let’s ask the Friday Afternoon Mycologist! Today he explores some of these weeping trees, and finds a thriving yeast jamboree. He teams up with Molecule Man to identify the suspects, and together they shed light on a neglected bit of forest ecology.

nematode with spores

The Dancing Nematode and the Helicospore

Lots of small twisty things, entwined. Some of them are moving. What the heck is going on here?


A requiem for the reprint

Here the FAM recounts the history of the scientific reprint, recalls past joys requesting and receiving reprints in the mail, and issues an appeal for a new invention–a tool to aid in inserting more papers to an already full filing cabinet. Luckily for him, the time of the PDF reprint is upon us.

mystery liverwort fungus

Mystery liverwort fungus, chapter 5

FAM is still trying to figure out what to call his liverwort fungus. Taxonomy is surprisingly hard sometimes. And just when you think you’re onto something, you find another can of worms. This one’s called Microxiphium.


Mystery liverwort fungus, chapter 4

The Friday Afternoon Mycology and Molecule Man are closing in on the identity of the liverwort fungus. In this episode we relate the results of PCR, question the eating habits of organ transplant patients, and finish up by chanting the DNA sequences aloud. But where has it gotten us?

is that a sheep?

Mystery liverwort fungus, chapter 3

What could it be, this liverwort thing? Has anyone ever seen this before? FAM pursues the fungus through the musty dusty literature and the well-stocked but torturous passageways of his own brain. Finally, the magical powers of Santa Claus are invoked.

what the?

Mystery liverwort fungus, chapter two

Part 2 in FAM’s series on the mysterious liverwort fungus. What the heck is this? Mycology is hard.

a mystery

The Friday Afternoon Mycologist

The Friday Afternoon Mycologist makes his first appearance on the Blog, and tells us about his vexing and/or intriguing liverwort fungus. Why is mycology so hard? And why do all truly interesting things happen on Friday afternoons?


Most people don't pay much attention to fungi, which include things like mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Here at Cornell we think they're pretty fascinating. In fact, even the most disgusting foot diseases and moldy strawberries are dear to our hearts. We'd like to talk to you about fungi, so that like us, you too can tell gross stories at the dinner table. Afterwards, maybe you'll notice some things you would have overlooked before, and we think this could be good for the planet.

Kathie T. Hodge, Editor

Beneath Notice, our book of borescopic mycology.


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