Fungi come in a wide range of shapes and sizes through every season of the year. However, what we are seeing are merely the fruiting bodies of an organism that lives underground or on their hosts. Some fungi only appear every few years, others annually. They are the masters of recycling causing decay of organic matter. Some fungi are parasitic and then turn to decay, such as the Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea).
We invited Beverley Rhodes Ecologist BSC CIEEM to tell us more about fabulous fungi!
So how will climate change affect fungi? Due to the unpredictability of periods of warmth or rain autumn fungi appear earlier giving us longer autumns. This year we saw St Georges Mushroom (Calocybe gambosum) appear in May, a month later than usual due to the late April showers Climate change will see new species appear while others will disappear.
Many fungi live with plants and are mycorrhizal or symbiotic, helping the plant grow faster, bigger and have greater success.. Over 80% of all plants have a fungal associate or a ‘Fungal friend’. Some scientists suggest that mycorrhizal fungi will buffer plant species from dry weather and changes in climate and therefore protect habitats from loss or irreversible change until adaptations can take place.
The problem for mycologists nationally is that we just don’t have the information to understand what change looks like. WE don’t know where they ALL are! Fungi are a poorly recorded biological group, particularly in Derbyshire and need our help!
So why not start to spot fungi NOW, there are so many different species, found in so many different places, with so many different forms. Buy an up-to-date book, (don’t pick them if only one!) and use your phone to send excellent pictures and come on a foray where you will always find out more. Don’t pick it, turn over a piece of the cap to get gill colour. Remember we need the spores to float away and produce more fungi
Tell us what you find https://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/derbyshire-biological-records-centre