Ompholatus nidiformis   Photo Teresa Van Der Heul

Ompholatus nidiformis
Photo Teresa Van Der Heul

 

Omphalotus nidiformis  photo Teresa Van Der Heul

Omphalotus nidiformis
photo Teresa Van Der Heul

Omphalotus nidiformis photo Paramatta High School

Omphalotus nidiformis
photo Paramatta High School

The recent rainy days might have caused us to postpone the Panboola Bioblitz, but they have also been the cause of an amazing abundance of fungi in the area. A young 4 year old friend Jasper Bright has found dozens of different varieties near his home and now goes to bed with a fungi book instead of fairy stories.

We have all suddenly become fascinated again and want to learn more. Teresa was interviewed on ABC local radio, and this is what she said:

Recently Ian Campbell, from ABC radio interviewed me, after he had been on a camping, educational trip with students, including his son, to Bournda. While on this trip they saw the fungus, Omphalotus nidiformis. This species of fungi, which is a good wood recycling fungus, also has the ability to glow in the dark.

Before we had electric light, our forbearers told stories of strange lights seen in the dark of night; of danger, evil and mythical creatures which evoked fear and wonder among the ancients. But this biologically produced light is a natural phenomenon as a result of an enzyme in the fungus, reacting with oxygen. There have been told stories about this Ghost Fungus emitting enough light for a person to read a book by, something I have not yet seen myself.

Omphalotus nidiformis is found on dead wood, particularly stumps and logs. It has large funnel shaped caps and grows in overlapping clusters. The young growth is blue-black to brownish tan and then creamy white at maturity.

Since the recent rains Omphalotus nidiformis and many other species of fungi, have been seen fruiting in numerous amounts throughout the both the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shires, within the National Parks, State Forests and our suburban gardens and lawns.

Omphalotus nidiformis is one of the 126 Target Species of Fungimap. Fungimap involves citizen scientists from across Australia to report sightings of these “Targets”. They are referred to as “Targets” simply because they are easy to recognise. Many fungi cannot be identified unless one takes up the complicated task of doing microscopy examinations. Fungimap has produced the book “Fungi Down Under” which depicts these easily recognisable fungi, and to introduce us all to the ecological importance of this much under studied group of organisms, which are essential to the continuing health of our planet.

For more information of fungi and the “Target Species” visit http://fungimap.org.au

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introduction

Teresa Van Der Heul a local fungi expert, first met us at the Bermagui Bioblitz in 2012. Whilst she was on a flora survey, she recorded an unusual fungi, a Stalked Puffball (Tulostoma sp.) which she has yet to identify to species. Stalked Puffballs are common in arid environments but this one seemed at home in the local coastal environment. Distribution of Australian fungi are poorly understood so records like this one increase our understanding of fungal ecology.

Since then, Teresa has contributed to the Atlas of Life by adding many fungi sightings of her own and on 16th April 2013, she led an enthusiastic group on a Fungi Foray at Bodalla.

On August 10th at the Bournda Science Expo, as part of the Science Week activities, Teresa led a workshop on Fungi identification, to teach people what to look out for and to help us learn methods of identification. She also provided a range of spectacular and beautiful images to whet the appetites of the group to take up the study of fungi.

Here are some printable information sheets and some links to help extend understanding and recording of fungi

ALCW Fungi data sheet

AgaricAnnotationSheet1

Bolete Annotation sheet1

Ramaria p1 (1)

Ramaria p2

Here are some links to websites you may find useful in pursuing your interest in studying fungi:

www.fungimap.org.au Teresa suggest you download the following from fungimap:

Guide_to_Surveying_Fungi_in_Australia_v1.1

You are invited to log sightings and photographs on to this website and to help you learn more, as well as the Species Guide on our site, visit :

The Atlas of Living Australia (www.ala.org.au)

www.anbg.gov.au/lichen/what-is-lichen.html

www.disjunctnaturalists.com/slime-mould-log

and Mushroom Observer http://www.mushroomobserver.org

You can also share your information with others on the Bowerbird site:

www.bowerbird.org.au