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Abstract Detail

Poster Session

Hassett, Maribeth O. [1], Fischer, Mark W. F.  [2], Money, Nicholas P.  [1].

Horizontal versus vertical splash discharge of peridioles in bird’s nest fungi.

The bird’s nest fungi (Agaricales, Nidulariaceae) package millions of spores into peridioles (sporangia) that are splashed from their basidiomata by raindrops. Differences in the biomechanics of splash discharge are reflected in the distinctive morphology of the fruit bodies in different genera of the bird’s nest fungi. In the present study we used high-speed video to compare the discharge of peridioles in Nidularia and Cyathus. Species of Nidularia produce globose fruit bodies that split open at maturity to reveal approximately 100 small peridioles within a gelatinous matrix. The peridioles are splashed horizontally, along with globs of mucilage, and travel less than 10 centimeters from the fruit body. The mean launch speed is 1.2 meters per second. The deep, vase-shaped fruit bodies of Cyathus promote faster vertical flights (with a top speed of 3.6 meters per second) and the deployment of a highly extensible cord of interwoven hyphae (the funicular cord) tethers the peridiole to surrounding vegetation. It is thought that the shape of the fruit body and the development of the funicular cord are adaptations that support a coprophilous life cycle by attaching the peridioles in ideal locations for consumption by herbivores. The much simpler, messy splash mechanism of Nidularia is compatible with the lignicolous habit of this fungus.

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1 - Miami University, Biology, 700 East High Street, Oxford , Ohio, 45056, USA
2 - College of Mount St. Joseph, Chemistry and Physical Science, 5701 Delhi Road, Cincinnati , Ohio, 45233, USA

Splash cup.

Presentation Type: Offered Paper - Poster
Session: P7
Location: Lincoln Room/Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014
Time: 8:00 PM
Number: P7012
Abstract ID:147
Candidate for Awards:Graduate Student Poster Presentation Award

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