Saturday, 14 April 2007

Fungi fruiting twice

Alan Gange, a professor of ecology at London University has recently claimed that there is evidence of a warming climate in southern Britain due to the fact that many fungi are now fruiting twice a year (see here).

This is based on 52,000 records collected over a 50 year period by his father Edward Gange, an amateur mycologist.

The paper itself can be found here (if you have a subscription): Gange, A. et al. (2007) Rapid and Recent Changes in Fungal Fruiting Patterns. Science 6 April 2007: 71.

I do rather wonder if this is true. I recall seeing various fungi sending up fruiting bodies quite early in the season and suspect they may always have done so if conditions were right. I suppose one could argue that one's powers of observation and general mycological skill improve with practice so any apparent increase might be partly accounted for by this.

If it is true it will surely have a considerable biotic effect if it continues over a long period of years.

The toadstool in the picture above is the pink meadow cap (Hygrocybe calyptraeformis) photographed in Beauport Park, East Sussex. This, to my knowledge, fruits only in the autumn.

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