Azara Blog: Fungi in southern England doing well under climate change

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Date published: 2007/04/06

The BBC says:

A remarkable father-and-son research project has revealed how rising temperatures are affecting fungi in southern England.

Fungus enthusiast Edward Gange amassed 52,000 sightings of mushroom and toadstools during walks around Salisbury over a 50-year period.

Analysis by his son Alan, published in the journal Science, shows some fungi have started to fruit twice a year.

It is among the first studies to show a biological impact of warming in autumn.
The records included sightings of 315 species of mushrooms and toadstools which appear in the autumn, being the seasonal fruiting parts of fungi that live in the soil, on rotting wood or in tree roots.

One of the changes Professor Gange turned up was that the autumnal fruiting period has expanded. Some mushrooms and toadstools are emerging earlier each year, others later, which he thinks are responses to warmer temperatures and higher rainfall.

More spectacularly, he found that more than one third of the species recorded have started to fruit twice per year. There was no record of this before 1976; but since then, 120 species have shown an additional fruiting in spring.

A useful, if narrow, snapshot of the effect of a changing climate. And it seems that fungi in southern England quite appreciate a warmer world, so this is one small example where the world is not ending.

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