Information

Reading: Fungi - Biology


Zygomycota

Fungi in the phylum Zygomycota are called zygomycetes. They are usually saprotrophs but there are some parasites. The hyphae are coenocytic (theyn lack septa). Septa are found only in the reproductive structures.

Reproduction in Zygomycota

Fusion of two hyphae leads to the formation of a zygosporangium, a thick-walled structure that is capable of surviving environmental extremes. Before karyogamy, the zygosporangium contains many haploid nuclei. after karyogamy, it contains many diploid nuclei.

Rhizopus (Bread Mold)

Figure 2. Rhizopus* sporangia

Asexual reproduction involves mycelia producing sporangia that produce haploid spores by mitosis. The spores produce new mycelia.

Figure 3. Rhizopus* zygotes

When environmental conditions deteriorate, sexual reproduction may occur. Hyphae from opposite mating types produce structures that contain several haploid nuclei. Fusion of two of these structures from opposite mating types results in a heterokaryotic zygosporangium. A thick wall develops that functions to protect the zygospore until environmental conditions become favorable. When conditions are favorable, nuclear fusion (karyogamy) occurs within the zygosporangium producing diploid nuclei. This is followed by meiosis. The zygosporangium then germinates to produce a sporangium which releases haploid spores.

Observe Rhizopus (bread mold) growing on a culture dish. Use a dissecting microscope to see details of the hyphae and sporangia. Is there any evidence of sexual reproduction?

Phylum: Ascomycota (Sac Fungi)

Examples: Yeasts, molds, morels, truffles

Figure 4. Morels (left) are sac fungi. Photo courtesy of Michael Lawliss.

Ascomycetes are important in digesting resistant materials such as cellulose (found in plant cell walls), lignin (found in wood), and collagen (a connective tissue found in animals). This group also includes many important plant pathogens.

Many, perhaps half of the species of ascomycota form lichens—a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a photosynthetic cell such as a green algae or a cyanobacteria. The fungal component of most lichens is an Ascomycete.

Reproduction in Sac Fungi

Sexual

Hyphae from opposite mating types fuse, forming a heterokaryotic structure which then produces dikaryotic hyphae.

The fruiting body is called an ascocarp. It is composed of dikaryotic hyphae and haploid hyphae.

Dikaryotic hyphae within the ascocarp produces asci (singular: ascus), sacs that are walled off from the rest of the hyphae. Nuclear fusion within an ascus will produce a diploid zygote. The zygote will undergo meiosis, followed by mitosis to produce 8 haploid ascospores.

Asci with ascospores can be seen in figure 5.

Figure 5. Peziza cross section X 200.

Asexual

Most reproduction is by asexual spores called conidia. Unlike the Zygomycetes which produce asexual spores within sporangia, conidia are produced on the ends of specialized hyphae called conidiophores.

Examples of Sac Fungi

Morels and truffles are gourmet delicacies. This group includes many important plant parasites such as Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, leaf curl fungi, and Claviceps.

An ergot is the hard, purple-black fungus Claviceps purpurea. It contains toxic alkaloids, including LSD. When infected rye is made into bread, the toxins are ingested and cause vomiting, muscle pain, feeling hot or cold, hand and foot lesions, hysteria and hallucinations. Historians believe that those that accused their neighbors of witchcraft in Salem may have been suffering from ergotism. Claviceps is used to stimulate uterine contractions and to treat migraine headaches.

Peziza (Cup Fungi)

Observe preserved Peziza (cup fungus) using a dissecting microscope.

Observe a slide of Peziza at scanning, low, and high power magnification. Find an ascus and ascospores on the upper surface (inside the cup).

Aspergillus

Observe the conidiophores and conidia (asexual spores) of Aspergillus.

Yeast

Yeast are single-celled members of the sac fungi. Most reproduction is asexual; a small cell pinches off from a larger cell. This type of mitosis where a smaller individual grows from a larger individual is called budding.

Make a wet mount of live yeast and see if you can observe budding under high power. If you cannot see yeast budding, view a prepared slide of yeast budding under high power.

Yeast also reproduce sexually by forming an ascus and eight ascospores. View a slide of Schizosaccharomyces octosporus under high power or oil immersion and find an ascus with ascospores.

Figure 6. Yeast (Saccharomyces) budding X 1000.

During sexual reproduction, the fusion of two cells results in the formation of an ascus.

Figure 7. Schizosaccharomyces octosporus X 1000

The elongated cell in the upper left part of figure 7 contains ascospores.

Figure 8. Schizosaccharomyces octosporus X 1000

Cells in the lower left part of the figure 8 contain ascospores.

Yeast is important in leavening bread by CO2 production and in producing ethanol for alcoholic beverages.

Penicillium

Observe Penicillium growing on a culture dish.

Figure 9. Penicillium growing on an agar plate

Penicillium reproduces asexually. Observe a slide of Penicillium conidiophores under high power. The spores are called conidia.

Figure 10. Penicillium Conidiophores and conidia X 400.

Phylum: Basidiomycota (Club Fungi)

Reproduction

Asexual reproduction in club fungi is rare. Their fruiting bodies are called basidiocarps. This is the visible mushroom.

Figure 11. Mushrooms showing gills

Spores, called basidiospores are produced on basidia within the basidiocarps. In mushrooms, the basidia are located along the gills on the underside of the cap. In figure 6, a portion of the cap of this mushroom has been broken away to reveal the gills.

Figure 12. Basidia and basidiospores X 1000

In ascomycota (sac fungi), the ascospores were enclosed in an ascus. In basidiomycota, the basidiospores are not enclosed. Compare the diagrams of a basidium with basidiospores above with that of an ascus with ascospores seen earlier.

Basidiospores germinate to produce monokaryotic (haploid, one nucleus per cell) hyphae. Mushrooms are composed of dikaryotic hyphae which are formed when hyphae fuse. Dikaryotic nuclei within the basidium fuse to produce a zygote and meiosis then produces basidiospores.

Observe some representative club fungi on display including mushrooms, puffballs, and bracket fungi.

Bracket Fungi

Figure 13. Bracket fungi

Bracket Fungi and Lichens

Figure 14. Bracket fungi and lichens

Mushrooms

Figure 15. Mushrooms

Cut a mushroom to reveal the gills as shown in figure 16. Basidia and basidiospores form on the gills.

Figure 16. Mushroom cut to reveal the gills

View a cross section of the cap of a mushroom (Coprinus) showing the gills. Find a basidium and basidiospores.

Figure 17. Coprinus X 400

Figure 18. Coprinus X 1000 showing basidia and basidiospores

Symbiotic Associations of Fungi and Other Organisms

Lichens

Lichens are structures made up of two different species:

  1. a fungus
  2. either a cyanobacterium or a green algae

The photosynthetic cells are contained within the middle layer.

The photosynthetic cells provide photosynthesis for the lichen. It was thought that the relationship was mutualistic because the fungus prevented the algal cells from desiccation. Recent evidence indicates that the photosynthetic cells may grow faster when separated from the fungus. Perhaps the fungus is parasitizing the photosynthetic cells.

Reproduction is asexual. Fragments are produced that contain fungal hyphae and photosynthetic cells.

Lichens derive most of their water and minerals from rainwater and air. This allows them to survive on bare rock, tree trunks, inhospitable places.

Observe the lichens on display. Some lichens have a crust-like appearance (crustose). Others have a shrublike (fruticose) or leaflike (foliose) appearance.

Figure 19. Lichens growing on a rock

Figure 20. Lichens growing on a tree

Figure 21. Lichens growing on a tree

Figure 22. Lichen thallus (cross-section X 200)

Figure 23. Lichen thallus X 400


LICENSES AND ATTRIBUTIONS

CC LICENSED CONTENT, SHARED PREVIOUSLY

  • Kingdom: Fungi, Biology 102. Authored by: Michael J. Gregory, Ph.D..

    A genome-scale phylogeny of the kingdom Fungi

    Phylogenomic studies using genome-scale amounts of data have greatly improved understanding of the tree of life. Despite the diversity, ecological significance, and biomedical and industrial importance of fungi, evolutionary relationships among several major lineages remain poorly resolved, especially those near the base of the fungal phylogeny. To examine poorly resolved relationships and assess progress toward a genome-scale phylogeny of the fungal kingdom, we compiled a phylogenomic data matrix of 290 genes from the genomes of 1,644 species that includes representatives from most major fungal lineages. We also compiled 11 data matrices by subsampling genes or taxa from the full data matrix based on filtering criteria previously shown to improve phylogenomic inference. Analyses of these 12 data matrices using concatenation- and coalescent-based approaches yielded a robust phylogeny of the fungal kingdom, in which ∼85% of internal branches were congruent across data matrices and approaches used. We found support for several historically poorly resolved relationships as well as evidence for polytomies likely stemming from episodes of ancient diversification. By examining the relative evolutionary divergence of taxonomic groups of equivalent rank, we found that fungal taxonomy is broadly aligned with both genome sequence divergence and divergence time but also identified lineages where current taxonomic circumscription does not reflect their levels of evolutionary divergence. Our results provide a robust phylogenomic framework to explore the tempo and mode of fungal evolution and offer directions for future fungal phylogenetic and taxonomic studies.

    Keywords: ancient diversification coalescence concatenation phylogenetic signal phylogenomics polytomy test relative evolutionary divergence taxonomy zygomycetes.


    Fungi : Biology and Applications , Third Edition

    Fungi are extremely important microorganisms in relation to human and animal wellbeing, the environment, and in industry. The latest edition of the highly successful Fungi: Biology and Applications teaches the basic information required to understand the place of fungi in the world while adding three new chapters that take the study of fungi to the next level. Due to the number of recent developments in fungal biology, expert author Kevin Kavanagh found it necessary to not only update the book as a whole, but to also provide new chapters covering Fungi as Food, Fungi and the Immune Response, and Fungi in the Environment.

    Proteomics and genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of fungi and their interaction with the environment and/or the host. Antifungal drug resistance is emerging as a major problem in the treatment of fungal infections. New fungal pathogens of plants are emerging as problems in temperate parts of the world due to the effect of climate change. Fungi: Biology and Applications, Third Edition offers in-depth chapter coverage of these new developments and more—ultimately exposing readers to a wider range of topics than any other existing book on the subject.

    • Includes three new chapters, which widen the scope of fungi biology for readers
    • Takes account of recent developments in a wide range of areas including proteomics and genomics, antifungal drug resistance, medical mycology, physiology, genetics, and plant pathology
    • Provides extra reading at the end of each chapter to facilitate the learning process

    Fungi: Biology and Applications is designed for undergraduate students, researchers, and those working with fungi for the first time (postgraduates, industrial scientists).

    Author Bios

    About the Editor
    KEVIN KAVANAGH
    is Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Biology at Maynooth University, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland.


    Cultured foods

    Baker’s yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a unicellular fungus, is used to make bread and other wheat-based products, such as pizza dough and dumplings. Yeast species of the genus Saccharomyces are also used to produce alcoholic beverages through fermentation. Shoyu koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae) is an essential ingredient in brewing Shoyu (soy sauce) and sake, and the preparation of miso, while Rhizopus species are used for making tempeh. Several of these fungi are domesticated species that were bred or selected according to their capacity to ferment food without producing harmful mycotoxins (see below), which are produced by very closely related Aspergilli. Quorn, a meat substitute, is made from Fusarium venenatum.


    Molecular Structures

    Carbohydrates can be represented by the stoichiometric formula (CH2O)n, where n is the number of carbons in the molecule. In other words, the ratio of carbon to hydrogen to oxygen is 1:2:1 in carbohydrate molecules. This formula also explains the origin of the term “carbohydrate”: the components are carbon (“carbo”) and the components of water (hence, “hydrate”). Carbohydrates are classified into three subtypes: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.

    Monosaccharides

    Monosaccharides (mono– = “one” sacchar– = “sweet”) are simple sugars, the most common of which is glucose. In monosaccharides, the number of carbons usually ranges from three to seven. Most monosaccharide names end with the suffix –ose. If the sugar has an aldehyde group (the functional group with the structure R-CHO), it is known as an aldose, and if it has a ketone group (the functional group with the structure RC(=O)R’), it is known as a ketose. Depending on the number of carbons in the sugar, they also may be known as trioses (three carbons), pentoses (five carbons), and or hexoses (six carbons). See Figure 1 for an illustration of the monosaccharides.

    Figure 1. Monosaccharides are classified based on the position of their carbonyl group and the number of carbons in the backbone. Aldoses have a carbonyl group (indicated in green) at the end of the carbon chain, and ketoses have a carbonyl group in the middle of the carbon chain. Trioses, pentoses, and hexoses have three, five, and six carbon backbones, respectively.

    The chemical formula for glucose is C6H12O6. In humans, glucose is an important source of energy. During cellular respiration, energy is released from glucose, and that energy is used to help make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Plants synthesize glucose using carbon dioxide and water, and glucose in turn is used for energy requirements for the plant. Excess glucose is often stored as starch that is catabolized (the breakdown of larger molecules by cells) by humans and other animals that feed on plants.

    Galactose (part of lactose, or milk sugar) and fructose (part of sucrose, or fruit sugar) are other common monosaccharides. Although glucose, galactose, and fructose all have the same chemical formula (C6H12O6), they differ structurally and chemically (and are known as isomers) because of the different arrangement of functional groups around the asymmetric carbon all of these monosaccharides have more than one asymmetric carbon (Figure 2).

    Practice

    Figure 2. Glucose, galactose, and fructose are all hexoses. They are structural isomers, meaning they have the same chemical formula (C6H12O6) but a different arrangement of atoms.

    What kind of sugars are these, aldose or ketose?

    Monosaccharides can exist as a linear chain or as ring-shaped molecules in aqueous solutions they are usually found in ring forms (Figure 3). Glucose in a ring form can have two different arrangements of the hydroxyl group (-OH) around the anomeric carbon (carbon 1 that becomes asymmetric in the process of ring formation). If the hydroxyl group is below carbon number 1 in the sugar, it is said to be in the alpha (α) position, and if it is above the plane, it is said to be in the beta (β) position.

    Figure 3. Five and six carbon monosaccharides exist in equilibrium between linear and ring forms. When the ring forms, the side chain it closes on is locked into an α or β position. Fructose and ribose also form rings, although they form five-membered rings as opposed to the six-membered ring of glucose.

    Disaccharides

    Disaccharides (di– = “two”) form when two monosaccharides undergo a dehydration reaction (also known as a condensation reaction or dehydration synthesis). During this process, the hydroxyl group of one monosaccharide combines with the hydrogen of another monosaccharide, releasing a molecule of water and forming a covalent bond. A covalent bond formed between a carbohydrate molecule and another molecule (in this case, between two monosaccharides) is known as a glycosidic bond (Figure 4). Glycosidic bonds (also called glycosidic linkages) can be of the alpha or the beta type.

    Figure 4. Sucrose is formed when a monomer of glucose and a monomer of fructose are joined in a dehydration reaction to form a glycosidic bond. In the process, a water molecule is lost. By convention, the carbon atoms in a monosaccharide are numbered from the terminal carbon closest to the carbonyl group. In sucrose, a glycosidic linkage is formed between carbon 1 in glucose and carbon 2 in fructose.

    Common disaccharides include lactose, maltose, and sucrose (Figure 5). Lactose is a disaccharide consisting of the monomers glucose and galactose. It is found naturally in milk. Maltose, or malt sugar, is a disaccharide formed by a dehydration reaction between two glucose molecules. The most common disaccharide is sucrose, or table sugar, which is composed of the monomers glucose and fructose.

    Figure 5. Common disaccharides include maltose (grain sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and sucrose (table sugar).

    Polysaccharides

    A long chain of monosaccharides linked by glycosidic bonds is known as a polysaccharide (poly– = “many”). The chain may be branched or unbranched, and it may contain different types of monosaccharides. The molecular weight may be 100,000 daltons or more depending on the number of monomers joined. Starch, glycogen, cellulose, and chitin are primary examples of polysaccharides.

    Starch is the stored form of sugars in plants and is made up of a mixture of amylose and amylopectin (both polymers of glucose). Plants are able to synthesize glucose, and the excess glucose, beyond the plant’s immediate energy needs, is stored as starch in different plant parts, including roots and seeds. The starch in the seeds provides food for the embryo as it germinates and can also act as a source of food for humans and animals. The starch that is consumed by humans is broken down by enzymes, such as salivary amylases, into smaller molecules, such as maltose and glucose. The cells can then absorb the glucose.

    Starch is made up of glucose monomers that are joined by α 1-4 or α 1-6 glycosidic bonds. The numbers 1-4 and 1-6 refer to the carbon number of the two residues that have joined to form the bond. As illustrated in Figure 6, amylose is starch formed by unbranched chains of glucose monomers (only α 1-4 linkages), whereas amylopectin is a branched polysaccharide (α 1-6 linkages at the branch points).

    Figure 6. Amylose and amylopectin are two different forms of starch. Amylose is composed of unbranched chains of glucose monomers connected by α 1,4 glycosidic linkages. Amylopectin is composed of branched chains of glucose monomers connected by α 1,4 and α 1,6 glycosidic linkages. Because of the way the subunits are joined, the glucose chains have a helical structure. Glycogen (not shown) is similar in structure to amylopectin but more highly branched.

    Glycogen is the storage form of glucose in humans and other vertebrates and is made up of monomers of glucose. Glycogen is the animal equivalent of starch and is a highly branched molecule usually stored in liver and muscle cells. Whenever blood glucose levels decrease, glycogen is broken down to release glucose in a process known as glycogenolysis.

    Cellulose is the most abundant natural biopolymer. The cell wall of plants is mostly made of cellulose this provides structural support to the cell. Wood and paper are mostly cellulosic in nature. Cellulose is made up of glucose monomers that are linked by β 1-4 glycosidic bonds (Figure 7).

    Figure 7. In cellulose, glucose monomers are linked in unbranched chains by β 1-4 glycosidic linkages. Because of the way the glucose subunits are joined, every glucose monomer is flipped relative to the next one resulting in a linear, fibrous structure.

    As shown in Figure 7, every other glucose monomer in cellulose is flipped over, and the monomers are packed tightly as extended long chains. This gives cellulose its rigidity and high tensile strength—which is so important to plant cells. While the β 1-4 linkage cannot be broken down by human digestive enzymes, herbivores such as cows, koalas, buffalos, and horses are able, with the help of the specialized flora in their stomach, to digest plant material that is rich in cellulose and use it as a food source. In these animals, certain species of bacteria and protists reside in the rumen (part of the digestive system of herbivores) and secrete the enzyme cellulase. The appendix of grazing animals also contains bacteria that digest cellulose, giving it an important role in the digestive systems of ruminants. Cellulases can break down cellulose into glucose monomers that can be used as an energy source by the animal. Termites are also able to break down cellulose because of the presence of other organisms in their bodies that secrete cellulases.

    Figure 8. Insects have a hard outer exoskeleton made of chitin, a type of polysaccharide. (credit: Louise Docker)

    Carbohydrates serve various functions in different animals. Arthropods (insects, crustaceans, and others) have an outer skeleton, called the exoskeleton, which protects their internal body parts (as seen in the bee in Figure 8). This exoskeleton is made of the biological macromolecule chitin, which is a polysaccharide-containing nitrogen. It is made of repeating units of N-acetyl-β-d-glucosamine, a modified sugar. Chitin is also a major component of fungal cell walls fungi are neither animals nor plants and form a kingdom of their own in the domain Eukarya.


    Fungi: Biology and Applications, 3rd Edition

    Fungi are extremely important microorganisms in relation to human and animal wellbeing, the environment, and in industry. The latest edition of the highly successful Fungi: Biology and Applications teaches the basic information required to understand the place of fungi in the world while adding three new chapters that take the study of fungi to the next level. Due to the number of recent developments in fungal biology, expert author Kevin Kavanagh found it necessary to not only update the book as a whole, but to also provide new chapters covering Fungi as Food, Fungi and the Immune Response, and Fungi in the Environment.

    Proteomics and genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of fungi and their interaction with the environment and/or the host. Antifungal drug resistance is emerging as a major problem in the treatment of fungal infections. New fungal pathogens of plants are emerging as problems in temperate parts of the world due to the effect of climate change. Fungi: Biology and Applications, Third Edition offers in-depth chapter coverage of these new developments and more&mdashultimately exposing readers to a wider range of topics than any other existing book on the subject.

    • Includes three new chapters, which widen the scope of fungi biology for readers
    • Takes account of recent developments in a wide range of areas including proteomics and genomics, antifungal drug resistance, medical mycology, physiology, genetics, and plant pathology
    • Provides extra reading at the end of each chapter to facilitate the learning process

    Fungi: Biology and Applications is designed for undergraduate students, researchers, and those working with fungi for the first time (postgraduates, industrial scientists).


    Fungi: Biology and Applications, 3rd Edition

    Fungi are extremely important microorganisms in relation to human and animal wellbeing, the environment, and in industry. The latest edition of the highly successful Fungi: Biology and Applications teaches the basic information required to understand the place of fungi in the world while adding three new chapters that take the study of fungi to the next level. Due to the number of recent developments in fungal biology, expert author Kevin Kavanagh found it necessary to not only update the book as a whole, but to also provide new chapters covering Fungi as Food, Fungi and the Immune Response, and Fungi in the Environment.

    Proteomics and genomics are revolutionizing our understanding of fungi and their interaction with the environment and/or the host. Antifungal drug resistance is emerging as a major problem in the treatment of fungal infections. New fungal pathogens of plants are emerging as problems in temperate parts of the world due to the effect of climate change. Fungi: Biology and Applications, Third Edition offers in-depth chapter coverage of these new developments and more&mdashultimately exposing readers to a wider range of topics than any other existing book on the subject.

    • Includes three new chapters, which widen the scope of fungi biology for readers
    • Takes account of recent developments in a wide range of areas including proteomics and genomics, antifungal drug resistance, medical mycology, physiology, genetics, and plant pathology
    • Provides extra reading at the end of each chapter to facilitate the learning process

    Fungi: Biology and Applications is designed for undergraduate students, researchers, and those working with fungi for the first time (postgraduates, industrial scientists).


    Biology

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    Video labs can be completed hands-on using our lab kit, but they were designed so you don't have to. The video labs are very zoomed in and the student takes notes, makes calculations, drawing and charts in their lab manual while watching the video labs. Dr. Shormann gives video solutions to the lab questions at the end of the lab video which the students use to grade and correct their work.

    Topics include but are not limited to Science and Christianity, biochemistry, cells, genetics, creation, evolution, bacteria, protozoans, fungi, plants, animals, ecology and human anatomy.

    DIVE Biology will encourage students to become naturalists. One of the first tasks God assigned Adam was to name the animals, giving Adam a chance to become familiar with the animals he had been given responsibility for. Today's science classes typically don't emphasize the naming of plants and animals, and most students probably could not name 10 bird species that live near them, not to mention plants, mammals and other organisms. DIVE Biology encourages the memorization of plant and animal names through the use of Biology Facts Quizzes. These are computer-based quizzes that give students an opportunity to memorize a list of plants or animals, plus other lists such as the names of human bones.

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    Students using DIVE Biology will become adept at working with the scientific method, will be familiar with the use of technology in science, and will develop their lab skills above and beyond most of their peers. Most importantly, students will have a better understanding and appreciation for the rich Christian heritage that exists in science, and will better understand the importance of studying His Word and His Works as they seek to become good rulers of His creation.

    Your Choice of Textbook

    Weekly reading assignments can be completed using our free Internet Textbook, which is a chart with links to specific websites to complete the reading. If you prefer a traditional textbook, we recommend either Bob Jones, Apologia, or A Beka. We have a reading syllabus for these books, as well as many others, that tell you exactly what to read each week. Click here to view a complete list of Reading Syllabi.

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    A printable PDF of this workbook is included with your DIVE course. We sell it as a convenience for those who do not want to print the workbook at home. 138 pages. Spiral bound with heavy covers.

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    Fungi are everywhere but they are easy to miss

    They are inside you and around you. They sustain you and all that you depend on. As you read these words, fungi are changing the way that life happens, as they have done for more than a billion years. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel and behave.

    “Entangled Life is a dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world and the earth-shaking, hierarchy-breaking implications of Sheldrake's argument. This is a remarkable work by a remarkable writer, which succeeds in springing life into strangeness again.”

    Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland

    "I fell in love with this book. Merlin is a scientist with the imagination of a poet and a beautiful writer… This is a book that, by the virtue of the power of its writing, shifts your sense of the Human… it will inspire a generation to enter mycology."

    Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind (Bay Area Book Festival, 2020)

    — Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale (on Twitter)

    Entangled Life is a special book and Merlin is, as his name suggests, a magical writer. Through his writing I feel connected to nature through a thousand invisible threads.’

    — Russell Brand

    "One of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you, Entangled Life is a mercurial, revelatory, impassioned, urgent, astounding, and necessary read. It’s fearless in scope, analytically astute, and brimming with infectious joy."

    Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

    "Reading this book, I felt surrounded by a web of wonder. The natural world is more fantastic than any fantasy, so long as you have the means to perceive it. This book provides the means."

    Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not A Gadget

    “True to his name, Merlin takes us on a magical journey deep into the roots of Nature — the mycelial universe that exists under every footstep we take in life. Merlin is an expert storyteller, weaving the tale of our co-evolution with fungi into a scientific adventure. Entangled Life is a must read.”

    — Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running

    "Fungi are everywhere, and Merlin Sheldrake is an ideal guide to their mysteries. He's passionate, deeply knowledgeable, and a wonderful writer."

    — Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

    "Sheldrake's charm and curiosity make for a book that is delightful to read, but also grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world, and the often-overlooked organisms within it."

    — Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

    "[An] ebullient and ambitious exploration… Within 24 hours of finishing “Entangled Life” I had ordered an oyster mushroom-growing kit. I started scrutinizing the lichens that hug the damp concrete in the yard. This book may not be a psychedelic — and unlike Sheldrake, I haven’t dared to consume my copy (yet) — but reading it left me not just moved but altered, eager to disseminate its message of what fungi can do.”

    — Jennifer Szalai, THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Entangled Life is a gorgeous book of literary nature writing… ripe with insight and erudition… food for the soul.”

    “Brilliant… entrancing… when we look closely [at fungi], we meet large, unsettling questions… Sheldrake… carries us easily into these questions with ebullience and precision… challenging some of our deepest assumptions… A ‘door-opener’ book is one with a specialist subject in which it finds pathways leading everywhere … Sheldrake’s book is a very fine example.”

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    — HARPER’S MAGAZINE

    "You may never look at fungi in the same way… Entangled Life is an eye-opening exploration of this mysterious taxonomic kingdom… a journey into an untapped world. It is both a wonderful collection of fungal feats… and a personal account of Sheldrake’s experiences with these miraculous organisms.”

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    — THE FINANCIAL TIMES

    "From bread to booze to the very fiber of life, the world turns on fungus, and Sheldrake provides a top-notch portrait."

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    “It is impossible to put this book down. Entangled Life provides a window into the mind-boggling biology and fascinating cultures surrounding fungal life. Sheldrake asks us to consider a life-form that is radically alien to ours, yet vibrant and lively underfoot.”

    Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries

    “Entangled Life is a revelation. It is a radical, hopeful and important book and I couldn’t put it down. With elegance, wit and clarity Sheldrake engages us in the hidden world of fungi, a miraculous web of connections, interactions and communication that changes the way we need to look at life, the planet and ourselves.”

    Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

    “This engaging book shines light on the hidden fungal connections that link plants, trees, and us. I thought I knew a lot about fungi, but I found much that was new to me, and exciting. Sheldrake is a rare scientist who is not afraid to speculate about the truly profound implications of his work. A very good read.”

    — Andrew Weil, author of True Food

    Entangled Life is a triumph, and a thing of vast beauty.”

    Tom Hodgkinson, The Idler

    “I was completely unprepared for Sheldrake's book. It rolled over me like a tsunami, leaving the landscape rearranged but all the more beautiful.”

    — Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the London School of Economics, author Soul Dust

    “This book is as hard to put down as a thrilling detective novel, and one of the best works of popular science writing that I have enjoyed in years. Sheldrake has a gift of explaining very complex concepts and serving it all up in such an engaging way that the reader forgets that they are not supposed to understand this stuff.”

    — Dennis McKenna, author (with Terence McKenna) of Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide

    “Entangled Life is a beautiful and profound meditation into the nature of life and intelligence. Thoroughly recommended!”

    Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science, University of Oxford

    “Unputdownable, this extraordinary work explores the awesome range of activities of fungi: enabling the first life on land interacting in countless ways with other life forms shaping human history and potentially safeguarding our future. At once rigorously scientific and boldly imaginative, it raises fundamental questions about the many natures of life on Earth.”

    — Nick Jardine, Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

    “Sheldrake awakens the reader to a shapeshifting, mind-altering, animate world that not only surrounds us but intimately involves us as well. A joyful exploration of the most overlooked and enigmatic kingdom of life, and one that expanded my appreciation of what it means to be alive.”

    Peter Brannen, author of The Ends of the World

    “This is an adventurous and indeed daring book, opening several unfamiliar micro-domains in the organic life world and its multiple connections. There is much to be learned in this wide field, and this vivid, scrupulous guide points the way!”

    “Entangled Life is a revelation with life-changing consequences. I now realize how distorted my views on fungi have been, having been deeply educated in modern medicine. This book expanded my worldview and I hope it is read widely in the medical profession. We are in dire need of it.”

    Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind

    “Entangled Life is a remarkable piece of work that manages to be at once scholarly and visionary and yet remains deeply engaging and enjoyable. Sheldrake provides a new and penetrating analysis of the fungal kingdom of life that will be a greatly enriching read for all students of the living world.”

    — Ian Henderson, Professor of Plant Genetics and Epigenetics, University of Cambridge

    “After reading Sheldrake's masterpiece I am more convinced than ever that we will never solve the grave problems of our times unless we deeply re-entangle our lives ‘fungus-style’ into the living fabric of our lustrous planet.”

    — Dr Stephan Harding, Senior Lecturer in Holistic Science and Deep Ecology, Schumacher College

    “Fungi are fascinating! Elegant life strategies meet with delicate omnipresence, driving global ecosystems. Sheldrake’s book informs and offers new concepts. Looking through Sheldrake’s lens, fungal biology integrates with art, philosophy and human society. His voice is real and personal. His book educates and entertains.”

    — Uta Paszkowski, Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics, University of Cambridge

    “Sheldrake brilliantly weaves a narrative to reframe our understanding of the fabric of life, extending the boundaries of our identity in the process. Entangled Life positively bristles with insight, dry humour and a passionately curious intelligence. This is a landmark achievement with profound implications for how we collectively contribute to shaping a sustainable future for the whole of life on the planet.”

    — David Lorimer, Programme Director, Scientific and Medical Network