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a fungus in amber

Paleomycology: Discovering the fungal contemporaries of dinosaurs

Fungi tend to be small, soft, and ephemeral — properties that don’t exactly help establish a strong presence in the fossil record. But they certainly have been around for a long time (perhaps 4 billion years?). Here we explore some of the fungi of the distant past, including some molds preserved perfectly in amber for tens of millions of years.

unsuspecting caterpillar

Entomophaga maimaiga – The caterpillar killer

Since we’d rather not let gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves off entire forests, we’re pretty happy about Entomophaga maimaiga, a fungus that attacks them. In this post we take a close-up, time lapse look at the devouring of a caterpillar by a fungus that is an effective agent of biological control.

foam from the stream

Fungi in streams: a leaf nightmare

The fungi that live in burbling streams are full of surprises. They’re shockingly pronged and elegant–not the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a spoonful of filthy-looking foam. And they’re surprisingly important as foundation members of aquatic ecosystems.

Coprinus comatus ink

The Dish on Deliquescence in Coprinus Species

Inky caps are mushrooms that’re stately when they first appear, but dissolve into embarrassing black ink upon maturity. Why do they do that, and how? You can actually write in their stinky ink! How do I know the ink stinks? I don’t want to talk about it.

So you want to be a truffle-farmer…? (Part 2)

Our trufficulture adventure continues with a short history of black truffle cultivation in France, with a note on the unreasonable expense of synthetically truffle-scented olive oil.

oysters en route

The Future of Fungal Freshness?

What if mushrooms weren’t grown in dank grow rooms by gnomes and elves, but instead grew right in their clever packaging on the way to market? Our student reporter interviews designer Agata Jaworska about her concept ‘Made in Transit,’ presented as her MS thesis at the renowned Dutch nexus, Design Academy Eindhoven.


A simple way to preserve fungal cultures

In this post, PhD student Anuar Morales Rodriguez shares a cheap and easy method for maintaining collections of fungal cultures. If you don’t have access to a vat of liquid nitrogen or a lyophilizer, this method (first developed in Brazil at CIAT) allows you to store your favorite fungi over the long term as dried cultures on filter paper.

Microsporum canis

Riddled with ringworm?

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin–no worms are involved. That doesn’t make it a pleasant disease though. Here you can read up on the fungi that cause ringworm and a vaccine that can prevent it in animals. If you’re human, you’re on your own. We apologize if reading this post makes you itchy.


Beware! The Slime Mold!

Our intrepid reporter studies the science behind the movie, The Blob, debunking Dr. Meddow’s longstanding theory that The Blob is a mutant bacterium from outer space. Warning: this post contains actual ooze, plus a song that, if you get it in your head, will haunt you for days.


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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