Three Characters, three purposes

mushroom_PurposesImage:  8

Designer : Anna Lambert

Title: Mushroom Personalities

There are three types of Fungi, namely; Saprobic, Parasitic and Symbiotic Fungi. The type of Fungi determines the type of relationship they have with their environment.

Saprobic Fungi includes a great deal of different species but all of them share one personality trait. This Fungi only grows on dead organic matter and they are the Jedi masters of decomposition. Some Fungi does attack timber used in construction which may lead to them not always being beneficial but most of them are beneficial to the environment. They simplify their substrates to easier compounds ultimately returning it back to the soil again.

Parasitic Fungi is a generalised term used for a vast variation of species but they are classified by their parasitic nature, meaning they attack living plants, animals and organisms. Unfortunately when man interferes with nature things gets unbalanced, such as crops being planted over large areas and when parasitic fungi attacks the crops it ultimately causes food shortage and starvation. The parasitic fungi also attacks animals and humans causing nasty diseases and infections. Some Fungi even attack certain insects but they are not just killers they do have a purpose. In natural environments they balance the environment by killing out the weaker, to allow more space and substance for the stronger species in the environment.

Symbiotic Fungi is identified through the symbiotic relationship they have with their environments meaning they form relationships that are beneficial to both partners. For example mushrooms classified under the genus Termitomyces has an association with wood eating termites. The termites cultivate these mushrooms by collecting their spores and planting them in specially prepared combs. In return when the mushrooms mature they are harvested and fed to the young termites as a special food source. Another common example which includes many species would be an association between the Fungi and a plant. Both the partners need each other in their environments to grow because they both produce chemicals required for both partners to survive.

Subsequently mushrooms and other fungi generally has short life spans but they are important characters in nature. They are great decomposers, function as rich food sources, aids nature in balance and the majority of grasses, trees and plants require a mycorrhizal relationship with fungi to survive.

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