Underwater mushrooms?

ResearchBlogging.org The cover of the Jan/Feb Mycologia has a picture of a pretty weird place to find a mushroom growing – a new species of mushroom that was found fruiting underwater in the Rogue river in Oregon.  This was reported about two years ago for a discovery that was made in 2005, but this is a formal publication on the finding and species description of Psathyrella aquatica. It is quite cool to see discovery of a new habitat for mushrooms, but I expect some more work will be required to fully understand the mechanics and development dealing with the challenges of underwater growth.  I think it would be interesting to see what kind of dispersal mechanisms there are since the spores are probably forced to float downstream, if there is an animal or wind dispersal mechanism at some later stage too or whether one finds mycelium growing in the soil near and around the rivers.

The important part of identifying the species and sequencing identifying molecular marker like ITS is that when later metagenomics studies of soil are performed, the anonymous sequenced clones can be matched up to know species, and we can identify where else this fungus is found.

Frank, J., Coffan, R., & Southworth, D. (2009). Aquatic gilled mushrooms: Psathyrella fruiting in the Rogue River in southern Oregon Mycologia, 102 (1), 93-107 DOI: 10.3852/07-190

3 thoughts on “Underwater mushrooms?”

  1. That is super interesting. Too bad the paper isn’t open access to learn more. I am wondering if any attempt was made to isolate a culture and initiate mushroom formation in the air to determine if it is obligately aquatic for reproduction? I would tend to doubt it, and think it is more of a fluke event by one particular colony. But… my mind is open on that. Thanks for tweeting it.

Leave a Reply