The Lichen Symbiosis Part 3

Lichen Reproduction

This is no simple matter, only the fungus of the lichen reproduces sexually. Lichens have a number of ways to spread throughout the environment, both sexually and non-sexually. The sexual stage is also complicated by the fact the mycelium can be haploid and produce self-fertile structures, due to the loss of genes, or be haploid and need a partner to form a dikaryon (the pairing but not fusion of the nuclei). The only part of the lichen that is diploid, is the asci, contained in the fruiting body the apothecia (see image 1 and 2) or perithecia, where the male and female parts have been bought together, they then form haploid spores, which does not include their algal/cyanobacteria symbiont. Continue reading

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Shuttlecocks – fungi designed them first!

Fruiting bodies on underside of leaf.

Fruiting bodies on underside of leaf.

At this time of year the fruiting bodies of the powdery mildew species, Phyllactinia guttata, are easy to find on the underside of hazel leaves (Corylus avellana) on campus.

The minute fruiting bodies – known as clasmothecia – can be seen as tiny specks that develop through yellow, amber and brown to black when mature.

 

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Another fungi foray

The Whiteknights campus is absolutely packed with excellent fungi this month. I’m out and about doing assignments almost everyday and I’ve had to add fungi forays to my list of new hobbies since beginning MSc Species ID and Survey Skills. Here are my fungi highlights so far this term;

Field Blewit (Lepista personata) near The Cedars Hotel. Lovely violet staining in the stalk.

Field blewit

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Campus fungi, 9th November 2014

Sunday was a sunny, warm and pleasant day so it seemed a good idea to have a forage for late season fungi.  The route took us through the wilderness, along the path from Earley Gate to the Library and then to the cedar trees by Park House.

There was hard frost on Tuesday so I had concerns that there might not be many fungi left.

The Wilderness was first on the walk.  A mixed woodland of oak, chestnut, beech, birch, hazel, holly and assorted conifers with an understory including too much Rhododendron!

An upright but very dead Betula trunk yielded some good specimens of the birch polypore.

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Hello from Alice

Alice studying Trifolium ornithopodioides in Reading Herbarium

Alice studying Trifolium ornithopodioides in Reading Herbarium

Hello, my name is Alice Nette-Thomas. I am a first-year undergraduate studying Ecology and Wildlife Conservation at Reading University. I am volunteering in the University’s Herbarium because species identification skills are something many Ecology graduates lack and I would like to ensure I am not one of them. Moreover, my plant identification skills are worse than my animal identification skills, both of which I hope to drastically improve with my time here!
I am currently working on learning to identify all British species of  Trifolium (Clover), which are important to many species as they are legumes and given it is a grassland species it is extremely commonplace. Thus making knowledge of identification of its species important. Using this knowledge I can then document the clover species found on campus. Once I have improved my knowledge of clover to a reasonably competent level I plan to move onto learning to identify the many species of trees found on campus seasonally, so I can recognise a species by a bare twig/tree stump as well by its leaves. Continue reading

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Looking down 2

Common spangle galls.

Common spangle galls.

Under some of the oak trees on campus, as well as the fallen leaves, tiny pale discs are appearing. Sometimes these are present in large numbers. They show up particularly well on tarmac pavements.

These are button galls which were the subject of a blog by Waheed last year. They are produced by various species of Gall wasp in the genus Neuroterus.

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Looking down 1

 

Stunning yellow tidemark showing where a puddle had been.

Stunning yellow tidemark showing where a puddle had been.

I often feel that I miss the world going by if I walk along with my head down. But sometimes I see things that I might have missed otherwise.

For example, what’s this bright yellow stuff appearing around Whiteknights?

It’s occurring on paths and roads over much of the campus at the moment. Like the tidal waves around this puddle. Sometimes it’s visible on soil too. Continue reading

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