Maliau directional fungi project (proposal)

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Contents

Background

Over the course of evolution, Basidiomycetes have developed a very specific way to release their spores. They have a little droplet of water which falls on to the spore and pushes it down. This mechanism happens in the structure called pores or gills located below the cap of the fruiting body. Thus, the spores will fall out of the cap and into the wind. This releasing process is the most important mechanism in spore dispersal. Therefore it is necessary that the fruiting body is in the correct direction so that the spore will fall down into the wind. As we observed, fungi in Maliau Basin primary forest always orient their fruiting bodies upward with cap over stem.

Question

Does the orientation of the substrate affect the direction of growth in the fungi's fruiting bodies?

Hypothesis

We expect that when the orientation of the substrate change, the existing fruiting bodies will change direction to orient towards the canopy in order to position the cap above the stem, and the new fruiting bodies will grow in that same direction.

Methods

The location of our experiment will be the short loop of the main trail in Maliau Basin. We will select 20 leafs with the fruiting bodies already growing. In each leaf, we will record the number and length of the fruiting bodies. Then we will flip over the leaf and hold it upside down with a stick. In each morning for the next three days, we will observe the orientation of the existing fruiting bodies and if any new fruiting bodies have grown. If the fruiting bodies has bend towards the canopy, we will measure the length of the bend. The same measurement will be conducted for length of the new fruiting bodies.

Analysis

All data will be analyzed in the statistical analysis platform R. We will compare the number of individual and the number of species that change the orientation of the fruiting bodies and develop new fruiting bodies.


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