Fun with Fungi

Hi River Roaders,

This week, I’m taking over this blog for my dad. For those who don’t know me, I am Andrew Saliunas, a rising Junior at Saint Mary’s College in MD.  While I am by no means a fungi expert, I find them fascinating and wanted to share with you all some of the amazing fungus that I found on RRUUC grounds over the summer. These organisms are incredibly important for our church’s ecosystem because they are the primary decomposers and keep the cycle of life moving.

On a pile or rotting logs, I was able to find some crown-tipped coral fungi (Artomyces pyxidatus) which looks almost alien.

Much more prominent, was the large grouping of Deer Mushroom (Pluteus atricapillus) which was feasting on the same pile of logs as the coral fungi.

These false turkey-tails (Stereum ostrea) attempt to mimic the turkey tail fungus. While from the top they are nearly indistinguishable, their bottoms are quite different. Real turkey-tail fungus have a porous bottom whereas the false turkey-tails are smooth on bottom.

While many people think of lichen as a plant, lichen is actually a symbiotic relationship between an algae or photosynthetic bacteria and a host fungus which live in very close proximity.

A lower and closer view of the deer mushroom shows their intricate gill system, which these mushrooms use in order to produce and release their spores.

My favorite fungus, the “dog vomit slime mold” (Fuligo septica). This fungus feasts on rotting wood, and has a very short life cycle.

That’s all for this week. My dad welcomes others to do a “blog take-over” for a week. The only ground rule is that all photos need to be taken on RRUUC grounds.

Hope everyone’s having a great summer,

Andrew Saliunas