Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Like to forage for mushrooms? Beware the Amanita!

Posted 15 Mar 2016 / 1

This short video, which came to my attention via the Scientific American “Observations” blog, does a nice job of explaining how an invasive mushroom species (Amanita phalloides) is causing new hazards for wild foragers in Northern California. The video is pretty basic — and a bit dramatic — but it does a good job of explaining how mutualistic mycorrhizal association can allow a mushroom to hitch a ride on an imported non-native plant and then spread in its new habitat. Generally when we talk about the evolutionary novelty of invasives being dangerous, we are talking about how these species interact with native species, but in this case the species at risk is us (and arguably humans are the most widespread invasive species on the planet!).

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Film, Television, & Video, Fungi, Invasive Species, Mutualism, Survival, Temperate Forest, Temperate Rainforest

1 Comment to "Like to forage for mushrooms? Beware the Amanita!"

Chris Jensen 15th March 2016 at 9:37 pm

A mycologically-inclined friend of mine let me know that we was skeptical of labeling these Amanita mushrooms as invasive, as they probably are not doing anything more than tracking the invasions of their symbiotic partner tree species. What do you call the mutualistic buddy of an invasive species?

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