December 11, 2013

The amazing Mushroom Effect

You must have heard about the butterfly effect: according to a certain Chaos Theory, the beat of a butterfly’s wings in the tropics can cause a storm in the northern hemisphere. Mushrooms reproduce by releasing their spores in the environment and wind is the principal vector in this dispersion. We now know that in the absence of wind, mushrooms generate on their own micro atmospheric disturbances that convey their seeds away. In November 2013, Émilie Dressaire and her colleagues of Trinity College in Connecticut presented their findings at a meeting of the Fluid Dynamics section of the American Physical Society: when sporulating, shiitake and oyster mushrooms produce water vapour that refreshes the ambient air up to the point of creating convective currents that disperses the spores. Perhaps, will you be tempted to mention the disproportionate mushroom effect in your future explanations of the popular theory.  

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