April 23 2014
12:00 LSB 2320
Department of Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles
Myco-fluidics: Mushroom Winds and Commuting on Fungal Freeways
Familiar species; humans, mammals, fish, reptiles and plants represent only a razor’s edge of the Earth’s immense biodiversity. Most of the Earth’s multicellular species lie buried in soil, inside of plants, and in the undergrowth, and include millions of unknown species, almost half of which are thought to be fungi. Part of the amazing success of fungi may be the elegant solutions that they have evolved to the problems of dispersing, growing and adapting to changing environments. I will describe our efforts to use both math modeling and experiments to discover some of these solutions. I will focus on (i) how internal flows within the network of fungal cells are organized to avoid the problems of congestion that make commuting on human highways so frustrating and (ii) how mushrooms actively manipulate their own spore dispersal by generating convective winds.