I'm a mycologist on the west coast, who specializes in fungal sexuality and genetics in the context of breeding. I do work with fungal biotech and applied mycology, and also consult for my state's and national, poison control regarding toxic mushroom ingestions.
AMA I guess
What’s a good fungi key manual for people unfamiliar with mycology?
how can fungi live on our bodies? what types of fungi usually grow on us? i get fungal infections frequently in my ears where i have eczema.
The most common fungal infections are cutaneous, and they're called dermatophytes, subsisting off what's on your skin only. They typically use sebum oils as a primary carbon source, and break down your keratin for protein. Interestingly, some of the most common ones have to be cultured on a special media that has olive oil as the primary nutrient.
They often require higher humidity areas of skin to thrive, which is why Tinea infections usually present on the groin, feet, armpits, ass, etc.
Ideally you would get one that's specific to your area, but if you just wanted to learn more about how the ID process proceeds in general, Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora is considered a bible. Though, it is older and many of the names have been changed since then, it will get you pretty far. If you're on the West Coast, it will also cover species specific to your area.
What's the best broad spectrum amtifungal?
Are there any mushrooms that can be used as an onahole?
What the best way to deal with a skin fungal infection without medicine?
remember to ask for consent before nibbling on fungi or you will be arrested by the shroom police
How do I become a Mycologist? I am 30 and did EE in college, is it too late?
what is your thoughts on the theory that Lenin was a mushroom?
Is there a normie way to distinguish what wild mushrooms you can and cannot eat?
Don't listen to the troll. Wild mushrooms can massively fuck you up, leading to insanely painful illness, liver and kidney damage and death.
Don't even risk it if you don't have a solid knowledge base (ie, a proper academic or professional one) about the specific fungi in your specific area.
pussy scared of a little plant LMAO
Fungi aren't plants.
im gonna turn you into a plant if you dont shut yo dumbass mouth up boy
Here's a focus-stacked photo I took of some fluorescent cells on the gills of a mushroom, called cystidia
Identification is the only method. Despite the insane amount of completely inaccurate folk methods for determining edibility (things like seeing if the mushroom will tarnish a silver spoon, a dime, doing a taste test), etc.
Checking if the mushroom has animal bite marks will not indicate anything, since human and animal sensitivities do not align.
Accurate identification of the species you have is the only way to know if it is edible or not, nothing short works. Thankfully there are many species which can be very easily identified by beginners with reasonable confidence, that have mostly harmless lookalikes, such as Chanterelles. Morels are also pretty easy to look alike with relatively little training, though they have potentially deadly lookalikes if you are really bad at ID.
Taste is a useful feature in identifying species, and the nibble-and-spit test can be done safely with any mushroom, but just taste alone won't tell you anything. Some of the deadliest species taste delicious.
See my comment here:
There are a lot of avenues, and many of them require no formal education if you're a good enough autodidact.
>nibble-and-spit test can be done safely with any mushroom
That sounds insanely suHispanicious. Like those people licking rocks and then being poisoned by arsenic, mercury or whatever toxic shit the stumbled upon.
It isn't, and that's not even me trolling. The test basically consists of taking a small nibble, maybe dime sized, chewing it well and letting it sit on the tongue for ~15 seconds, and then spitting it out.
For one, poisonous mushrooms need to be ingested to actually cause poisoning. additionally, even the most deadly of mushrooms are not so toxic as to cause problems from a nibble, even if you did ingest it accidentally.
The flavor can be useful for ID, especially with Russula and Lactarius.
The only exception might be Podostroma cornu-damae, which has a pretty high trichothecene content. So far as I know, no poisonings have been reported from something along the lines of nibbling though. And for what it's worth, that species is basically limited to Australia and Japan as a rare occurrence.
>that species is basically limited to Australia and Japan
Fuck. I really want to go and scavenge mushrooms but I'm going to fucking die, I don't know nipponese shrooms aside the ones you find in supermarket.
Just don't eat anything without a full, proper ID. I recommend targeting species which have simple and easy identification routes, to reduce uncertainty. There are many species with clearcut identifying features even for a beginner. Depending on where you are, one of the best ways to learn is attending mycological society forays during the season.
In the private sector, that's where you will have to have built a bit of a framework. I made myself a reputation as being a reliable person to consult with, and largely started out by helping people pro bono with their projects. Once word spread that I knew what I was talking about, the rest basically fell into place. I typically would cement my authority on the subject by doing prolonged interviews and answering questions on the project they were interested in. I would typically give them a very detailed research plan regarding what I am going to do for them and how. There is also the fact that this is such a niche field, people won't really know enough to judge your authority. If you don't know what you're doing and mess up a project, your reputation will be destroyed quite fast. But that is mostly in regards to being hired onto projects or acting as a consultant.
The skills you have might be stand alone if you are able to make your own products, that might manifest as growing mushrooms for food, developing and selling cultures, dyed textiles, etcetera.
The positions available for a lot of mycologists are not going to be standardized with strict requirements for a degree or education on the subject, partly because many in the field understand that unless you get to grad school and start on research, very few institutions offer any real mycology focused course.
For something more reliable, work in labs through academia is the way to go, and that can often be engaged with as an undergrad. You may or may not be paid for the work though.
I googled before about that it it seems like there are some species that taste like regular mushroom but is actually toxic, or maybe the species can become toxic under certain conditions because now and them people who are used to eat said mushroom die from intoxication so either there is a very similar species both on looks and taste or it can be toxic or not depending on the conditions. I do taste test random fruits and berries I find, I just don't risk on mushrooms. Also I'm in Japan so there is that.
Contrary to common belief, and largely due to mycophobia, it is substantially more unsafe to taste test plants. There are absolutely plants which pose a risk of injury or poisoning through a taste test, while no mushroom is going to be hazardous with the nibble and spit test.
But there isn't any point in tasting mushrooms in the field unless you know how the flavor will factor into an ID.
It is definitely unfortunate. I keep a lot of terrariums and aquariums, and I've tried and failed even with our most robust local species. Fruticose foliose or crustose have all failed.
Not really in my purview. Keeping the area clean and dry will likely help though.
You could probably carve a hole into the Giant Puffball
There isn't really a good metric for "best". Every context where an antifungal is needed will have it's own set of disadvantages and advantages for certain uses. Do you want something to fight an infection? Is that infection cutaneous, subcutaneous, ocular, in the spinal cord? Do you want to select against Ascomycete and Zygomycete contaminants, and is that in liquid or solid culture? Trying to clear soil samples of all fungi? Each scenario will benefit best from a different compound.
I go by the general idea that the most poisonous fruits are well known and talked about often and even those rarely kills a healthy adult. Usually it is
children and most of the times not even kill the kids. Meanwhile to someone unfamiliar with fungi they all look the same, you have to look in small details that the average joe never payed any attention in life.
>many of them require no formal education if you're a good enough autodidact.
Thanks. How do put it into practice though? Also, wouldn't people ask for some sort of certification? How else would they be able to trust you?
Any cool lichen for a terrarium and how/where acquiring them?
There's a lot of lovely green foliose lichen all over the ground in the park where I live. I've often thought of grabbing a bit.
I wouldn't take anything that could potentially be threatened, but this particular stuff is everywhere. Looks really nice too.
I do remain hopeful that more research will be done in psilocybin as a mental health treatment, but the fucking wooks and acid freaks kind of ruined it for a while. There's more research coming out these days, but only time and more research will telll.
Gorgeous mushroom yarn, btw.
Certainly, people often don't realize exactly how broad the field is. It is sort of like trying to generalize "botany" when it encompasses many different disciplines of application and research.
I'm very data-oriented and I'm glad to see research being done on psilocybin and psilocin. It seems like the data isn't great for microdosing so far, but macrodosing seems to have clinical benefit from what we have tested so far.
And thanks on the yarn! I've loved working with fungal dyes.
Lichens are not well suited for cultivation unfortunately, especially not in terraria. Despite the fact they're so common and ubiquitous, they actually require pretty specialized conditions to grow. Alternating wet and dry periods perfectly balanced so as to prevent imbalance between the mycobiont and photobiont, distinct need for seasonal lighting and high UV exposure for normal growth, their growth is extremely slow and distinctly annual for normal morphology and chemistry. They work on the scale of years and decades, even if the lichen you had was actively dying, it might no actually start to decay for a year or so. Best case, it will simply go dormant and you won't really know what it's doing.
You can add them to terrariums as a decoration, but you can't really expect them to grow or propagate.
Lose contact with reality as in be fully immersed in hallucinations and psychedelic thought patterns. I've taken enough to get distinct hallucinations, but never to really lose my sense of awareness, or more than I could act normal on. I'm primarily interested in the mood changes and hilarity than anything else.
>Lichens are not well suited for cultivation unfortunately
Didn't expect that from something that grows literally on bare rock, asphalt and concrete. I assumed it would be a breeze. I guess if I really want to make something like the picture better just keep them preserved dry and make a dry lichen decoration piece.
That is too bad because they would look pretty cool.
Have you ever done shrooms? Do you eat mushrooms as part of your diet? Which mushrooms are your favorite to eat?
Yes to both. I haven't really taken a large enough quantity of mushrooms to actually lose contact with reality, because it's not something that seems very fun. I typically mix lower doses with beer and have a good time with friends out in the woods. I eat a lot of edibles, I haven't grown any mushrooms recently, so basically all foraged and whatever I can find in the woods that's out during the season. If I'm not too tired after the foray, I'll try to dry the extra so I have them yearround.
Deciding on a favorite edible is difficult, it is probably a solid three-way tie between Fire Morels, Cauliflower, and Matsutake depending on my mood and whether I'm cooking for myself or a group. Morels and Matsutake make the best complex dishes and are pretty versatile, where Sparassis has a good enough texture and flavor it stands alone very well, I can put down a huge plate of it simply sauteed in butter.
Not my photo, but this is the Cauliflower in my region, Sparassis radicata. Cooks up with a very similar flavor and texture to egg noodles, and you typically find about 10-50 pounds in a foray if you're lucky
Define "lose contact with reality"
The most ive done at once was 4g and I could easily tell what was real and what was in my head. Wasnt a fun experience though.
My best trip was my first one. Did 2.1g, the trip wasnt anything excited, but it completely fixed my depression and improved my personality for a week, at which point i smoked weed and it crashed me right back down to how i was before. Help me get back there, mr. shroom expert 🙁
Stamets is the one "pop science" figure in a world that just... doesn't know shit about fungi at all. But the general knowledge will grow and expand and rewrite it all. I did read Mycelium Running but I don't believe in magical solutions to anything - if it really worked as he said, we would have done it already.
Great thread, OP. I'm an amateur mushroom forager myself but back in the day I used to cultivate (psychedelics, but also species of mold in order to beat out a shitty landlord.) I also appreciated your criticism of Paul Stamets... I'm aware, but he was one of my introductions to mycology and my own truth is that microdosing twice a week has done more for my mental health than any psychiatrist or therapist or prescription drug has ever done. I get my little microdosing pills and live in a place where its decriminalized, its simple af.
As a RPG and worldbuilder fag, what would be some useful mushrooms for humans? And some cool stuff for magic users and potions would be cool too, apart of amanitas muscarias and those shrooms.
Photo is the mycorrhizal root tip of the Death Cap Amanita. Where it actually connects mycelium and tree for nutrient exchange and communication
Useful for humans, in what sort of way? Food, weaponry, technology?
Food and drugs are the obvious choices. They inspired the drug Hispanice in Dune and you can see how much world building ended up around just that. I'm not very imaginative in the world building sort of way, if you could give me specifics I might be able to help.
As for magic users, I think weaponized fungi would be pretty interesting. Things like promoting fungal infection or converting parts of people into fungi, or using fungi a-la Avatar to communicate with nature in a less deadly druid sort of way. Alternatively, cute fungal companions. I'm not very good at this, lol.
Overall I think he is probably doing more good than harm, but I don't like to see exactly how much of a pedestal he is being placed on by people not doing the background. Ultimately I would not have gotten into this career if I hadn't read his books and been inspired, and I can think of quite a few people who took the same route. I think the key is that it generates enough passion where you will end up doing your own research and creating your own informed opinions, sort of growing past the sensationalist stuff. And in that regard, he has massively bolstered the new people flowing into the mushroom community. For years the mycological community, especially taxonomists, were definitely averaging on the older side. It has been good to see so many new people flow in, but they might need a bit of steering in the right direction so they don't turn into wooks. The Stamets to sentient-psychedelic stoned-ape pipeline is very real.
Yeah, I hope that at least fungi are weird enough to gatekeep out wooks... if you try to follow the dumbass guides McKenna wrote back in the day to grow cubensis, you'll just wind up with contamination. Otherwise, I just have a great time going out in the woods to get boletes and chicken-of-the-woods and the odd morel or russula - psychedelia is a fun gateway but it isn't even close to ecompassing the actual world of fungi.
I will go for weaponized fungi then. Fungi than can be useful to primitive societies could also be cool.
The magic sistem I'm making for my setting is based a lot in Mushishi/reverend insanity aka using pseudo mushrooms,bacterias and "bugs" to generate "magic" so to say.
For example I already use "slimes" as kinds of pseudo-mushrooms than eat magic and can move, there are lots of varieties and can be used to make spells (a "candle slime" for fire magic etc).
I also use cordyceps for necromancy, with "slimes" to conect the moving parts, Iron and silver are poison to them tough., so other fun weakness of fungi to exploit would be useful.
Most profitable culinary or medicinal shroom?
How what is involved in setting up a basic mycology lab? Something sufficient for making agar, liquid culture, grain spawn, and bulk fruiting...basically everything you would need to cultivate, and maybe some strain refining with agar work
How do some fungi produce their own thermal currents? Saw a .gif of one with what look like dew beads spinning around in place like a mini torrent.
What fungal biotech do you work on?
Is it true that "Slime Mold" is no longer consider a fungi?
Evaporation of moisture, basically. The temperature differential created by evaporation or sunlight heating from the cap tends to produce a really specific updraft that carries spores up and over the cap, allowing them to get past the still air boundary layer at the forest floor.
The applied biotech I've worked on is pretty variable. One project involved digestion of lignocellulose waste into ethanol for biofuel, one involved simple methods for producing chitinase and protease enzymes to be used for stripping fungal cell walls and producing protoplasts for forced hybridization/breeding/modification, and then a wide range of methods related to dyes. Also bioreactors for mass production of mycelium.
Probably Psilocybe cubensis, honestly. In terms of how much you have to spend on supplies/education and infrastructure for growing. Second to that, likely Oyster mushrooms grown on agricultural waste. The success you have growing a species is super variable though, there are so many ways to design your operation that margins can swing between absent or huge. It is easy to do badly, and market development is a big part of it. I also know a lot of people who make substantially more money selling mycelial cultures and spores than they do mushrooms themselves.
That's a bit too big of a question. I guess I would say generally to encompass those needs, the two biggest tools are going to be a pressure cooker/sterilizer, and a flow hood for sterile work, and also the cleanroom to contain them. Most of the other supplies are pretty situational depending on what your goal is and how your workflow is designed
Thanks for all the info anon. OP is not a gay.
>Also bioreactors for mass production of mycelium.
Was that for bioremediation of petro / pesticides? It's amazing how much biotech sorcery can be done with fungi. Does your background need to be specifically in mycology to work on projects like those, and who's hiring for it? J&J?
Missed the last question. Yes, slime molds are not fungi, and the term "slime mold" itself doesn't even contain one taxa. It contains multiple groups not necessarily closely related, and more describes a lifestyle and set of behaviors which is similar. They can roughly be divided into cellular and non cellular slime molds, Myxomycetes. The most well known and studied slime molds fall into the latter group, including the one in your photo. They're giant, and easy to grow and observe. Most of the interesting genetic implications of their lifestyle are within that group as well.
They're basically gigantic amoebas, their affiliation with kingdom fungi was never based on genetics, moreso ecology.
Are there nonbinary mushrooms?
Could an intelligent moving species of mushroom creatures that kill prey by breathing spores on them ever evolve?
Mobile predatory fungi are already here. They've been here for a very long time.
As OP says, mushrooms and toadstools are just the genitals/fruiting bodies of a fungus.
The main part of the fungus remains in the soil/tree/rotting log or whatever. Have you ever seem a bunch of white cobwebby stuff when you tip out an old plant pot or turn over a garden bed? That's the main body of the fungus, and it can stretch for a very long way.
There are predatory fungi that construct all kinds of traps to attract and kill nematode worms, freshwater zooplankton and other things.
Fungi can move too. They just grow in the direction they want to go, and some even recycle parts of themselves that would otherwise be left in places they don't want to be any more.
In some cases mycologists who want to find out what fungi are living on a certain forest floor, for instance, can just set baits for them and wait for them to arrive.
Like, say, you want to find keratin-eating fungi who specialise in decomposing fur, feathers, claws and toenail clippings, just plant a bunch of that shit in the ground and they will "smell" it underground and grow towards it to eat it. Then you just dig that shit up and see who came to the party...
Photo is the glowing mycelium of Armillaria I cultured a while back
Probably not. Aside from some spores which are flagellated, fungi are totally immotile. A species which aggressively spread between humans and causes fatal infections is a much more real world scenario, and we might see it in our lifetimes with Candida auris
It's interesting that anybody ever said that shouldn't be eaten. It is perfectly edible regardless of genus level rank. Glad you figured it out!
So far as I know, we don't have any evidence that amatoxin genes are likely to spread within our lifetimes. There may be some evidence for horizontal gene transfer between the few groups that contain it since they're phylogenetically a tad distant (Galerina, Pholiotina, Lepiota, Amanita)
The risk is largely overblown by mold remediation companies and "crunchy" health people. The main "black mold" which poses a danger is Stachybotrys, and it is only one of many species that grow in damp houses and appear black. Some of the others produce mycotoxins.
The key thing with Stachybotrys is that it doesn't produce airborne spores effectively. For them to get airborne and pose a respiratory risk you need the area to dry out after being damp, and for it to be disturbed substantially. So during remediation and cleaning it poses the biggest risk. Stachybotrys chilling in your crawlspace without disturbance doesn't likely pose a big danger. Touching or handling it isn't a great idea.
However, basically all molds pose a serious allergen risk in general, where their presence can cause inflammatory reactions to those nearby. Aspergillus is especially bad about that, since it does produce airborne spores and can contaminate a household or indoor space. Whether those allergic symptoms encompass the entire range of "sick building syndrome" isn't really clear, and I think it regularly gets wrapped up into a sort of group hysteria situation with all the modern fearmongering.
Hey OP, is people's terror of "black mold" way overblown?
I know it's hard/impossible for the layperson to distinguish one kind of black mold from another, but there are probably hundreds of millions if not billions of people whose homes are infested by this fungal boogeyman (not me, of course). People should be dropping like flies...
And for reference, we're all breathing millions or billions of fungal spores into our lungs every day, right?
there is quite literally no evidence pointing towards the toxicity of black mold spores if inhaled.
unless your eating it in expansive droves or something the worst you are risking is allergies and obviously structural damage.
I'd say the thing you should be worried about when seeing black mould is aflatoxin. If the black stuff growing in your bathroom's corners isn't actually Aspergillus spreading one of the most potent cancerogens, then that's great, but I for one wouldn't want to take that risk.
Aflatoxin species of Aspergillus aren't typically black, and are more associated with foodstuffs. The main problem with the actual black mold Stachybotrys is the production of trichothecenes which will contaminate the material.
See my reply here
. I wouldn't say that nonbinary can really be applied to fungi except in the literal sense of more than two mating types.
I once picked lbs and lbs of false chanterelles in PA
what were they, actually? spore print was correct and they had the right smell, very very close to real chanterelles but I think they were something else. no they weren't Omphalotus olearius, 100% certain they weren't
what do you think of the stoned ape theory in relation to shrooms
For one, the theory was developed by Terence Mckenna, someone who is not a mycologist, anthropologist, or neuroscientist. He basically proposed a scenario after consuming lots of psychedelics and he was popular enough it took root.
Approaching it scientifically rather than credentially, we don't have any evidence that changes in the brain caused by psilocin are heritable, the concept of restructuring of the brain like that in a short timescale is not currently supported for any drug. We also don't have any evidence that psychedelic revelations in our ancestors could've supported intellect to the degree he proposes, when it seems most of the groundwork was already there absent outside influence.
And finally, the conHispanicuous species Psilocybe cubensis which grows on dung, was likely not even present on the continent at that point, evidence currently suggests it evolved alongside cattle in Asia. The accidental consumption of psychoactives off dung is very unlikely.
So basically, it is more an idea than a theory anyone ever approached scientifically, and it isn't supported at all by any evidence, or the scientific community. In general if a professional is seriously talking about the theory, it more serves as useful to identify those who are full of shit.
I'm a little polarized on the subject though, since so many people bring it up in conversation when they hear I'm a mycologist.
There isn't much info to go off of if you have no photos. The species that could be considered "lookalikes" are not universal, and based on your own experience identifying. The list is tiny for someone with lots of experience, and expansive for someone who is just starting out. Unfortunately smell and print are not enough information to really guess off of in this scenario.
One of the common false chanterelles is Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, but it could've been one of the even closer lookalikes such as Gomphus or Turbinellus.
Do you recall if it had true gills?
Sorry about the vague chanterelle question, I found it. Smooth chanterelle, Cantharellus lateritius. They had some gills but very light, still forked where noticeable. Spore print matched, surrounding forest matched. Also at the time the land was undisturbed but there was disturbed land nearby which I think may have had to do with the massive fruiting.
When I found them was over a decade ago and I looked online they were saying they were going to reclassify them due to then recent genetic analysis. They said not to eat them because they weren't real chanterelles. Oh well. I don't think I'll ever eat any wild mushrooms ever again, fungi are too unpredictable. Did you ever hear the talk of amatoxin genes being in other fungi?
Weird, it didn't load I guess. Trying again with a different photo I got of a fungus gnat
Do you want pdf's specifically? You can find pdf copies of the two books I mentioned above online, probably through libgen. They were uploaded for free on some of the Facebook groups for awhile before the copyright people got to us. "Mycelium Running" and "The Fifth Kingdom" by Stamets and Kendrick respectively. The latter is a simple and instructional read, sort of hands on but a good intro that can stoke passion (take Stamets' statements with a grain of salt), while the latter is more academic and comprehensive in focus, just giving a good concept of fungal biology. A textbook basically.
I developed interest in fungi after wanting to know the species I was finding around town. I had always been pretty outdoorsy and science focused, and it started bugging me I didn't know much about them. After learning some basic ID and biology, I really got sucked in once I started getting involved in their cultivation. Specifically, once I learned how easy it was to clone and start growing wild fungi to add to a culture bank, it got out of control. It was sort of like Pokemon, where I would have to spend hours searching specific habitats to find rare or interesting species with cool properties, and then try my hand and cross my fingers at cloning, hoping I could "capture". I got involved in a mycoremediation project at my college and it sort of spiraled from there. Local mycological society chapters, and the enormous worldwide community on Facebook, sucked me in to a point of no return. It is basically my life now, where I spend the two mushroom seasons in spring and summer traveling from event to event teaching classes and giving talks. The mushroom community was a huge part, with the exception of the psychadelics-oriented section which is mostly wooks (no hate on psychadelics, but many of the people who like them are terrible).
i prefer pdfs, i find them easier to manage and take notes from.
yes i saw you mentioned that one, my passion has already flared but it cant harm to read :p
do you do any experimentation with mold and cultivation? i find them incredibly beautiful and see artistic possibilities with them...
>(no hate on psychadelics, but many of the people who like them are terrible).
i dont like psychedelics, not for their properties, that i find curious but mainly just due to how they overshadow the curious nature of fungi in of it self. Plus yea wooks are so fucking obnoxious.
any pdfs you could recommend for an aspiring amateur? also how did you end up in the field of mycology? any words of advice for someone looking into studying mycology?
Are Fungi sentient?
Hello Op. I Love mycology. What is the lowest level of working with fungus I can do? I'm 34 and have no schooling or money wasted my life being a wageslave.
I find myself depressed as all fuck. I just want to do what I love. Grow mushrooms and breed tarantula.
How do you feel about the representation of fungus in media?
Here is a pretty macro shot I got of the pores on Suillellus amygdalinus. Unsure on it's common name
Not to continue talking trash on Stamets, but I wasn't super happy with the most popular recent film "Fantastic Fungi". It just promoted his sensational ideas of medicinal fungi, and ended up being a giant advertisement for his supplement company.
Otherwise, I think they're becoming more popular overall, and with that, becoming more accurately presented in media. I don't really have many complaints overall except for obvious misinformation and mycophobia that always shows up.
Some have been used to successfully produce gold "micronuggets" from solution, or accumulate the metal from their surroundings. That's probably the only actual application I can think of.
Imagine studying shrooms, lmao get a life nerd
Hey OP I'm currently in an unrelated line of work and thinking of going to college to study these really interesting guys. My gf works in environmental science (aquaculture) so I have a rough idea of what to expect from working in a lab/field work, but I was wondering how to find out specifically if studying mycology is right for me?
If you could also give some idea of what your daily work is like and how economic pursuing a career in it is I would be very appreciative.
note I have reached out to the nearest mycological societies but they're a days trip away, have yet to visit
Somehow I totally missed this comment.
Sort of like I mention here
there are really a huge number of routes to go down with mycology. My workdays have varied quite alot as I have jumped between different positions and clients.
Currently, I do work on analytical chem of a few different groups, so I basically hop between a hood doing sample prep, and a computer processing HPLC data all day. My favorite part of this is definitely method development and validation, since a lot of the analytes I've worked with don't have much background work done yet. Some of the analytes are pigments in the context of textiles or art, and others are pharmaceutical. This is currently where I make most of my money, though it doesn't pay as much as it should. This is an example of applied mycology, because I'm working in the private sector with the goal of using fungal metabolites in real-world capitalism.
But I also do work for the UofO, studying leafcutter ants with the goal of getting published. Our last paper made it into one of Nature's journals, which I was pretty stoked about. The lab is super open-ended and honestly a really unique place. I get to work on our grant-funded project (actually currently focused on scorpions and not fungi at all), while simultaneously running my own research. Because we have captive leafcutter ants, I'm able to research their relationship with their cultivated fungus on my own time. Because it isn't on the grant, none of that except for me keeping the colonies alive actually pays.
Other times I've spent most of my time in front of a flowhood doing culture work for breeding, other times during our seasonal events I've spent days doing microscopy and ID for local mycological societies. I also am always on call with the Oregon Poison Control in case they have poisonings, and online, I consult for the SPCA poison call center.
I sort of made my own career in this field, and many mycologists have had to do the same.
I would start by joining your local mycological society if one is available, attending forays and meeting people, and then checking if your local academic institution has any labs studying fungi. That might be a lab studying mycotoxins in grain, doing ITS barcoding PCR all day, looking at bee parasitic microsporidians, it is really all over the place.
It isn't until you have a good foundation that you could consider forming your own career path. I personally had to make this route for myself, once I got to a point I had marketable skills, I was able to land random jobs using them, and thankfully they've all aligned with things I enjoy.
But first you need to get a good basic understanding of mycology, and then start looking at which way you might want to go.
did it hurt when you fell from heaven?
How does fungus gender work? I heard they have more than two, which can't be right.
They don't have genders, they have what you could call sexes. Technically, "mating types". There are two major systems used in fungi which determine how this is organized. Many Ascomycetes (one of two major groups in kingdom fungi) have bipolar mating, where there are essentially two mating types, a roughly 50/50 ratio. This isn't determined by a whole chromosome as with humans, just a couple gene regions on one chromosome that has to do with pheromone production and detectors. These basically have two sexes. In contrast, the other major group that contains most of what we consider mushrooms, gills/stem/cap etc, are tetrapolar. They have two gene regions with two major alleles each. This means there are basically four sites available for variation. I'll try to simplify, but because some species have literally hundreds of alleles for these four sites, which means that you can quickly multiple to have 10's, even 100's of thousands of different mating types, or "sexes".
The whole point of the tetrapolar mating system is to promote outbreeding and prevent inbreeding. In order for two unmated strains to be compatible, they have to have different allelles at both sites, which means that inbreeding compatibility is only about 25%, while outcrossing compatibility with a new parent is basically 100%, since nobody but siblings is likely to ever share one of these alleles.
Yeah, I basically stick to Facebook.
It is global. For fun I'll browse fungi observed in other countries for fun. I'll be visiting Costa Rica soon, and there is a surprising lack of any good guides for macrofungi in the area. I'm basically forced to study iNat to get familiar with everything.
I'm not familiar with seek. I never really use the automated ID feature that iNat has, it is pretty inaccurate for fungi.
I definitely get pretty bored outside of mushroom season. It has been pretty cool how it connected me to a worldwide community though.
Please tell me a cool mushroom fact to bust out in social situations
What we eat in shrooms is their reproductive organs, the real shroom is underground.
t. never studied shrooms
That's got to be a joke.
It's not, the thing we eat is the thing they spread spores with.
Is there any good dedicated forums on this topic?
There is quite a large set of groups on Facebook for every aspect of mushrooms, be it cultivation of psychoactives, edibles, breeding, dyeing, or just identification and taxonomy. Probably the most extensive with quite a lot of actual mycologists involved. It is worth creating an account and using the site just for that in my opinion, regardless of whether you want to use the rest of it.
There is also a forum called Shroomery which has been going for awhile, but it is primarily focused on cultivation of psychoactives, and the community is about 90% wooks. Not the biggest fan.
Some toxic mushrooms containing the toxin orellanine may not cause a fatality until a month later, when your kidneys fail. Contained by Cortinarius species in section orellani. A well known author, Nicholas Evans, once poisoned his entire family with these after somehow mistaking them for edible boletes (despite the fact that the Cortinarius are small, reddish, and have gills, and boletes totally lack gills, and are giant). He had no clue what he was doing.
Some are only toxic if you eat them repeatedly for years, until an acute autoimmune haemolytic anemia starts with no preceding warning. This is the syndrome associated with Paxillus, and also the only recorded time when a mycologist was killed by mushroom poisoning.
The most common deadly mushrooms, amatoxin species like Amanita phalloides, have a delayed toxicity with two phases, severe GI upset after 8-14 hours, followed by a deceptive honeymoon period where you feel fine, before your liver and kidneys fail about 48 hours later.
Mushrooms near Chernobyl are known to hyperaccumulate radioactive vanadium from soils up to 40,000x background levels, and pass it up the food chain to reindeer, which become dangerously radioactive and have to be euthanized and disposed of as nuclear waste.
>Mushrooms near Chernobyl are known to hyperaccumulate radioactive vanadium from soils up to 40,000x background levels, and pass it up the food chain to reindeer, which become dangerously radioactive and have to be euthanized and disposed of as nuclear waste.
Can we actually use shroom to decontaminate shit, or is it pop science overenthusiast bullshit?
Very very context specific. This falls into the realm of what's collectively called mycoremediation. Paul Stamets in particular popularized the concept in his book Mycelium Running, and unfortunately glamorized it a bit too much, in the same way he did medicinal mushrooms.
While fungi absolutely have valid uses in mycoremediation, for targeted breakdown of specific waste streams, soil enrichment, breakdown of some contaminants, some of their uses have been a bit overblown. The use of fungi to accumulate and remove heavy metals including radioactive ones, has been talked about for awhile, but in practice has been pretty difficult. In part because it would still involve collection and removal of the fruitbodies and biomass. This is overall a problem with all bio-based heavy metal cleanups, but it gets talked about often as though it is a tested and successful method.
I'd say that he has done serious damage to many startups by making them seem a little too good at it, and in some ways, made it harder to get serious research done on the subject because there are so many failed projects.
Oh, that sucks.
So I guess "mushroom mining" is completely out of question.
Horrific. Even one wook is enough to ruin a group, but at least you don't have to smell them online...
Ahh, too bad. I was hopeful that there was a hidden gem but fug :---D I dislike Facebook's concept nowadays (for a while already actually) and the other option you mentioned doesn't sound too great either.
Well, maybe I've gotta calm down for couple of days and wait for this temporary interest spike to fade and focus on the things I should be focusing instead of expanding the endless TODO -list. Thanks for the answer though!
Hey OP, I like fungi, though I don't know that much about them.
I think more people should know that many/most plants couldn't even exist without mycorrhizal fungi funnelling them nutirents.
People freak out when they see fruiting bodies (mushrooms/toadstools) growing in their pot plants or garden beds but they need to chill the fuck out and realise that it's just the soil fungi that are keeping their plants alive...
Can we breed a fungus to kill all outdoor cats
Hey anon I am seeing some growth in my LC is the only way to find out if it has contam to just inoculate some shit with it and see how it plays out?
Ideally you would test it on agar before using LC. But a good indicator right off the bat is turbidity, did your LC develop any cloudiness or lose transparency at all? Any weird changes in liquid consistency?
If so, it definitely has bacteria and isn't worth your time. If things are still crystal clear but you don't have agar, just inoculate and hope for the best I suppose.
ok I got some agar coming and the stuff to make more. Thanks again for tips. I'm about to go hard into some amateur mycology.
>shaped multiple extinctions, including the success of warm blooded mammals overtaking large reptiles
Wut?! I thought they got crushed by an asteroid, never seen a fungal theory of dinosaur extinction. Talk more about this: what role could they play in mammal dominance?
Tell me about radiotrophic fungi in Chernobyl. I just think they're neat
Any good mushroom ID book recommendations for the East Coast or US in general? I'm travelling there in a few weeks and would like to do some shroom identification for fun. I usually ID plants but since you're around I figured I'd ask.
I'm actually not sure about good East Coast guides. Typically when I'm traveling to a new area and can't find a good resource, I'll use the app iNaturalist. You can make an account and use the explore function to literally see all mushrooms someone has reported in the area, with photos and ID details.
You can also post your own finds and get help with the ID.
Interesting, I thought all the pros read field guides.
I don't really want to spend money for a guide to a region I don't spend much time in.
Their ecology has been pretty hotly debated, since the proposal is a bit of stretch. The concept is entirely supported by the original study, where they showed that colonies exposed to radiation grew faster than those that weren't. They proposed a mechanism for why it might work, using melanin as an energy transfer substrate basically, but so far as I know it hasn't been validated. The original methodology is pretty simple and robust and seems to support the concept, but I'd still like to see more information.
High radiation environments in oxygen rich areas suitable for fungal growth are something that's relatively new in terms of environment, so it would be a pretty rapid adaptation if so, or arguably more of an accidental discovery for metabolism.
This is post-asteroid, when competition between reptiles and now-small mammals was at an all time high to fill all the ecological roles which had been vacated. The planet was also cooling rapidly which compounded problems for ectotherms. The ectotherms basically faced two problems, their forced migration towards the equator where temps were still warm, and overall lower body temps. With a huge population of now-cold reptiles, fungi stepped up to take advantage. Fungal parasites of reptiles had a humongous boom and are theorized to be one of the biggest causes of mortality everywhere but the equator, basically extirpating them from everywhere but there.
This is part of why reptile diversity was then and still is now highest at the equator. But, as reptiles were already struggling to fill niches, the fungi added insult to injury. The only animals which didn't have this problem were endotherms with a naturally high body temp regardless of habitat, allowing them to survive in those colder habitats and go through an explosion in species diversity, and key, grow substantially in size.
based fungi, backing the correct horse
They back all the horses, what with chytrid fungi and yeasts being essential to all ruminant digestion
Kek, I already use it for plants. Good shout though for anyone in the thread who doesn't know it.
Does it work for countries that are not burgerland? Because I'd love something like that for Japan.
How does it compare to Seek? I think the two apps are related, and I quite like Seek's scanning even if it can be unreliable.
Are there mushrooms that eat inorganic stuff like minerals for the most of their diet?
Like basically all lifeforms, carbon always going to be the dominant intake in any living organism, and that does not come in mineral form. There are definitely many fungi which actively break down rocks for their essential minerals and metals though, lichen are very well known for this. They pump out potent organic acids and chelating agents to quickly weather pits and holes into solid stone. They are a major agent of what's called bio-weathering of exposed stone, probably most known for erasing the surface of tombstones. If you find lichen like Xanthoria growing on old stone and scrape a small portion away (not much since they take hundreds of years to grow), you'll see that there is actually a pit underneath where they've degraded the material.
Another example of mineral degradation is seen very commonly in mycorrhizal fungi, those that associate in a symbiotic relationship with tree roots. To make this symbiosis mutually beneficial, there has to be a give and take between the two partners. Since fungi are capable of quickly degrading and cracking stone through a combo of hydraulic pressure and acids, they will actually tunnel straight into rocks to obtain phosphorous and essential metals, minerals bound into rocks to a point where trees and other organisms are totally incapable of sequestering them. We were finding small micro-tunnels in rocks all around the world before we finally made the connection that mycorrhizal fungi had been digging.
Nothing else in the food web is capable of releasing the phosphorous bound into these minerals, and often times whole forest ecosystems only exist because of the P freed up by mycorrhizal fungi, which goes to the trees, which then filters out into the rest of the web. Here is a good article on that.
What is the best book or online resource to learn basic mycology?
Maybe something fun which would draw you in
This photo won't really matter if it's flipped. It is some crystals I got from an extract of the lichen Xanthoria parietina, the "sunburst crust". The crystals are the anthraquinone parietin, a relatively potent and interesting dye.
See my response to
If you want something that is mostly flashy and exciting, I'd recommend "Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets. He is a bit of a hack, and exaggerates some aspects of how effective his mycoremediation techniques are, but this is the book that helped suck me into mycology early on. Easy read and includes a lot of hands on stuff to get into, things that can be done in you or your friends backyard, or a local green space.
How would you suggest to get into it as a career? I've been nerding on fungi in my own time for years but getting paid would be cool.
the good ones tho
How much woke culture is involved with research into the multiple genders/strange reproduction methods fungi have? Genuine question, since it bizarrely came up in my emerging diseases class.
Some really pretty fluorescent Dyer's Polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii), another species I dye with.
Most people don't know enough about fungal reproduction to get political with it. I do think it's nice when people look to other aspects of biology when considering human sexuality, though I always get a little miffed when people directly compare mating types (which number in the 100,000's for some species), to human sexes. The two don't really directly equate.
I moreso see a really sex positive culture among mycophiles in general, with the exception of traditionalist foragers from the American midwest, people interested in fungi are usually pretty woke.
I'd be a little suHispanicious of any liquid culture produced without using an SAB or hood, because I'm assuming that means you produced it with spores. That almost never works out clean enough for direct application to grain.
I'd suggest just doing small injection volumes to a good number of small grain jars and hoping for the best. Spores to agar is ideal, and spores to grain is risky, but the latter is more likely to succeed than spores to liquid culture. If you can source clean LC from a friend that would be quickest for grain inoculation.
Books on what topic within mycology? General education, or regarding cultivation, breeding, genetics, molecular bio? There are many tenets of mycology and each sort of has it's own associated literature.
The book "Fifth Kingdom" by Bryce Kendrick is a good start for deeper level fungal bio, but won't really help when it comes to things like culture methods or mycoremediation, applied mycology.
Goddamn these flipped photos. Let's see if making it even smaller works. Apparently I got bad at Wauf, lol.
Sort of like I mention in the question above, there are a ton of avenues within mycology to go down. Career choices will highly depend on what you're interested in. People doing cultivation generally make their money by growing mushrooms and selling them, or producing supplies for others to use. This is probably one of the most common routes but is often not associated with actual mycological research. There is also fungal taxonomy, which is probably the most common actual mycology people do, and when people say "mycologist", this is what most of those would be.
It involves collection and description of new species, or using genetics to reclassify existing species into more appropriate taxa. I'm a skilled identifier, but this isn't really my thing.
My specialty mostly finds me work in the private sector, where parties will fund applied mycology if it benefits them. I've mostly made money setting up breeding projects for people. This is uncommon for sure, but something my specialty helped allow.
I also work in a lab at the UofO, doing research on ant-symbiotic fungi. This doesn't pay very well, and sometimes not at all if we are inbetween grants, but is a more typical position for academic mycologists.
Are there any specifics in mycology that stand out to you?
I am going to try out agar next. Thanks for the tip. I doubt my LC is going to even germinate tbh.
have you taken magic mushrooms op? have you had conversations with any of your specimens?
Do fungi have a memory? Can they learn?
Some Lobster Mushrooms I found this fall. I mostly use these for dyeing textiles
Sort of hard to define learning. They can make quick adaptive changes in order to respond to their environment, and have epigenetic factors which can be passed down to offspring, but that isn't really learning in the sense that humans would usually use the word. Adaptable certainly, but in my opinion intelligence is a stretch. That doesn't mean they can't problem solve
Not two way conversations, no
Those can pull off a full sterilization, but you have to account for the fact they run around 12psi instead of 15. I would sterilize grain jars with an extended period, and use them as spawn to bulk on pasteurized coir. Coir can be pasteurized by hydrating with boiling water in an insulated bucket or container.
Very simplified but that's one of the more straightforward routes to go. Jars can be fitted with syringe ports if you don't have any still-air-box (SAB) or flowhood, and the pasteurization can be done open air. Developing a simple SAB would be nice if you wanted to do grain-to-grain transfers.
Cool. This is pretty much the route i was headed. Already have some jars with injection ports, was probably going to make a SAB. Thanks anon, wish me luck. Right now I am just hoping my liquid culture takes off so I can shoot up a bunch of grain spawn.
>Some Lobster Mushrooms I found this fall. I mostly use these for dyeing textiles
>Some really pretty fluorescent Dyer's Polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii), another species I dye with.
>some crystals I got from an extract of the lichen Xanthoria parietina, the "sunburst crust". The crystals are the anthraquinone parietin, a relatively potent and interesting dye.
more info on this pls, first i've heard of mushrooms being used
Fungi produce a lot of potent pigments! There is a whole worldwide and growing group of Mushroom Dyer's. In most areas, they offer way more of a color range in pigments than plants do. In my eyes it is another way to take advantage of their biochemical potency, but natural dyer's more appreciate them for their beautiful shades. Here is some yarn I dyed with two of the mushrooms I mentioned, the green and yellow are Phaeolus schweinitzii (Dyer's Polypore), and the red is Lobster.
The Xanthoria lichen I mentioned is really interesting. The typical method involves "fermenting" (not an actual biological fermentation, the pH is too high), the lichen in ammonia for a few weeks to months, and then soaking your yarn/silk in the liquor. It produces a very vibrant cotton candy pink, but if the yarn is exposed to sunlight while damp from the dye, it will quickly turn a sort of cotton candy blue. Once dry the color is stable either way. Unfortunately there isn't a good paper out yet on what exactly is going on chemistry wise, but that's one thing I'm interested in researching. At first I was convinced the shift to pink (parietin is yellow at neutral pH) was simply pH based, since many other anthraquinone pigments shift to reds or violets at a high pH, but so far the TLC (thin-layer-chromatography) I've done has actually supported the formation of a new pigment. I suspect by incorporation of nitrogen from the ammonia, but I'm not really sure yet.
I'm going to be pissed if this image gets flipped too
Some more mushroom dyed yarn. In this case I used Hydnellum (The bleeding tooth mushroom I posted here
), the lichen in the cover photo Evernia prunastri, which also undergoes an ammonia fermentation but for much longer, and Boletopsis (Coastal False Bolete).
fascinating stuff, thanks. really digging the results too.
cool product, thanks for the writeup op
Where did you study?
Why can't you create a crossbreed of truffle that has the aroma and flavor of european truffles, but the capability of growing on bamboo of chinese truffles? And become extremely rich?
Here's a cool photo of some Bleeding Mycena I got last fall (Mycena haematopus)
Breeding fungi is not that simple. Even within the same species, mechanisms exist that make mating a highly selective and specialized process, especially for Tuber species (Truffles). We don't fully understand the mating and lifecycle of Truffles despite the fact we can cultivate them, and before we reach that point, organized hybridization isn't going to happen. Hybridization among fungal species is overall quite rare due to the way most of them mate.
LCC and the UofO, where I currently work.
Goddamnit. Most of my photos are too large to upload and it decides to flip the small one.
Here is another bleeding mushroom, Hydnellum peckii, the "Bleeding Tooth". Hopefully not flipped
These mushrooms give me strong "these are not your woods" vibes, do not like.
Why Mycology? What makes fungus so interesting?
Not op but I imagine that fungi are unique organisms that gets greatly overlooked
They look and behave like plants, yet they’re not
They are more genetically closer to animal cells than plants, why?
We know a lot about them already ex. Decomposers, chitin walls, spores etc but are still understudied, at least in the realms of conservation and restoration
>They look and behave like plants, yet they’re not
Huh? In what way? That's like saying coral behaves like a plant.
Maybe not behave, I was kind of thinking in dispersal strategies
but they look like plants, at least for the average person
>grow almost anywhere
>can at times grow appendages that look like “leaves”
What do you recommend for an easy to make, high yield, contam resistant substrate I can make in my apartment
>NO YOU CAN'T GROW THOSE ONES BECAUSE....
>YOU JUST CAN'T, OKAY?
do you want to fuck mushrooms?
Another crossposter here. I thought I was on Wauf and checked because there's no way an OP this good would be there.
Wauf is overrun with schizos and poltards who think they are smart. Even outside of those two major groups, you still have a ton of overreaching mathfags who think they're experts in biology and chemistry.
>you still have a ton of overreaching mathfags who think they're experts in biology and chemistry.
Credentialism is gay and impedes scholarship of any sort.
Fathers of Molecular Biology, Evolutionary Game Theory, etc started off as Physicists / Engineers / Mathematicians
sounds like reddit is more your space. This is the kind of thing you see a lot on reddit, not here.
what kind is this and can I eat it. There a few outside of where I work after these rains.
Could you get a shot of the underside? The gills are essential for photo ID.
Were they growing on wood?
Maybe a little
What sort of supplies do you have for sterilization and pasteurization?
Well, originally what drew me in was their sheer diversity in both form and function. They have made themselves critical to basically all of earth's ecosystems by many different strategies, and have shaped multiple extinctions, including the success of warm blooded mammals overtaking large reptiles.
When it comes to my specialty, it is sort of the same. In comparison to the rest of the eukaryotes, their diversity in how they have sex, rearrange their genome, is unparalleled. Certainly the most creative organisms with a developed nucleus, they put mammal biology to shame.
Also, finding and cloning them is sort of like pokemon.
I have an instapot for sterilization. Willing to invest a bit of money.
They are responsible for the development of Mammals? How could that be so?
>t. can't read good
Kys I'll put a toxic Mushroom in your family's Soup.
why would my family have just one soup?
how would you get hold of our numerous soups?
can you put a toxic mushroom in a can of soup?
all of the cans of soup?
what if I give my cans of soup to poor hookers and your mom eats it?
I gave you too much credit, I knew you were a lowlife. Obviously the mum cooks and you all eat what was made in the pot but your trashy Wife can't even cook.
I know your IP, I'll just come and r*pe your kids.
>I know your IP, I'll just come and r*pe your kids.
that would be awesome. But my neighbors migh finally realize I steal their internet.
/tg/ crossposter here, could you hit me up with some of the weirder tidbits and examples of their ecology/biology? Always nice to keep creative juices running.
You also mentioned fungal sexuality, that's curious!
What sort of aspects are you interested in? The topic of their ecology is pretty deep, there are very few niches they haven't entered.
Some live in cracks on the seafloor far from any phototrophic food web, where they live in symbiosis with chemo-autotrophic bacteria that sustain themselves off of warm chemical rich waters from the earth's crust. Their relationship with those bacteria is very similar to the fungi which live on land as lichens, in a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic bacteria and algae. In both cases, they basically took over the metabolism of another organism and entered a role they never would've been able to on their own.
There is the Laboulbeniales, which parasitize countless insects, but are probably most well known as STD's that spread on ladybug asses. If you use a loupe and look real close, you'll notice that more ladybugs than not have them present.
Some really only spread during and after fires, taking advantage of weakened organisms to snatch up easily available carbon, while also having enzymes capable of breaking down and using the carbon in charcoal, a very sturdy form of carbon that no other organisms can really degrade.
There are so many cool examples
Interesting ladybug fact. Thanks OP. Mycology and Entomology are my favorite.
>on the west coast
what's the rate of genital fungal infection in your area?
That's a great question. The most common ones aren't actually on the genitals themselves, moreso the pubic area. Commonly called "jock itch", or Tinea cruris.
According to this paper, it seems like trends for fungal skin infections are overall rising, including the US, though I couldn't find any data specific to the West Coast.
None of the papers report an overall case rate per capita, though that's likely because it often doesn't go reported. Most of the publications only look at what the causal organisms are, not how common the disease is. However, it is basically ubiquitous in groups that do high contact sports with shared locker rooms, like wrestling and martial arts.
Do you think mushrooms came from space?
Definitely not. If you look at their phylogenetics, they sit right at the base of metazoa next to all the weird protists like Choanoflagellates.
They basically made the decision to abandon motile cells and stick with immobility, but keep their odd means of reproduction, while most of metazoa decided to go with a stupid binary system. Next step up from amoebas without developing things like muscles and stomachs.