Mushrooms 'can control' the weather

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Martyn Fisher

BY MARTYN FISHER

Mushrooms 'can control' the weather

Fungi are capable of dispersing their spores even when there is no wind by creating their own weather, scientists claim

Mushrooms 'can control' the weather
Mushrooms

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Mushrooms have the ability to control the weather, scientists have learned.

New research has shown that they are able to disperse their spores over a wide area even when there is not a breath of wind by creating their own weather.

Scientists in the US used high-speed filming techniques and mathematical modelling to show how Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms release water vapour that cools the air around them, creating convection currents.

They found that in turn, this generates miniature winds that lift their spores into the air.

The groundbreaking findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Pittsburgh, suggest that mushrooms are more than just mere mechanical spore manufacturers.

Lead scientist, Professor Emilie Dressaire, from Trinity College in Connecticut, said: "Our research shows that these 'machines' are much more complex than that: they control their local environments, and create winds where there were none in nature. That's pretty amazing, but fungi are ingenious engineers."

The scientists believe the same process may be used by all mushroom fungi, including those that cause diseases in plants, animals and humans.

More than 80 different types of wild edible mushroom grow in the UK, as well as many poisonous species.

 

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