Focusing In on Fungi

For Fungus Among Us, I’ve focused my research to lichen. Two aspects of lichen I find interesting are:

  • They are a composite organism, a fungus and a photosynthesizer (algae or cyanobacteria) living together as one. In Mycelium Running, Paul Stamets says “after hundreds of millions of years of evolution, fungal alliances have become part of nature’s body politic. It is time for our species to partake in this ancient mycological wisdom.” What does lichen look like if we substitute the photosynthesizer with a human? Could anything be gained from a living as massive colony of humans and fungi, each dependent on the other?
  • Lichen grows incredibly slowly. Lichenometry is the use of lichen to date exposed rock. This chart (source) says that 3cm of lichen grown on the Colorado Front Range implies a rock that has been exposed for about 500 years. What strategies can I employ to capture the beauty of lichen in a garden if I might not live to see it realized?

I’ve found a few lichenologists online that I will reach out to. I just need to figure out what to ask them! Mike and I have also decided to team up on this part of our research.