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November 9, Serena Zhao

A fungus among us: mushrooms and beyond

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What does baker’s yeast have in common with the world’s largest organism? What feeds plants through their roots, while related species can survive on bare rock? Fungi!!! Fungi are more closely related to humans than they are to plants, and play a variety of different roles within ecosystems. For instance, fungi can be plant mutualists, animal pathogens, or decomposers. At Science Under the Stars this November, we will explore this amazing Kingdom – the shocking lifestyles, outlandish physiology, and the ways that fungi touch our lives every day.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 6:00 pm: Food and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 6:30 pm: Kid’s activities start! Meet with our children’s division for fun activities designed for all ages.
  • 7:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!

Taylor Sultan Quedensley

Lichenized-fungi of Texas: Biology, Ecology, and Distribution of a Diverse Group of Understudied Organisms

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Lichens are a diverse group of organisms in Texas, occupying many different types of habitats throughout the state. There are over 500 species reported for the state, and the number is undoubtedly greater considering the relatively low amount of collecting that has been conducted. With a diverse flora and fauna well-reported for Texas, lichens also need to be included in the discussion of the state’s high biodiversity levels, and also towards developing conservation strategies for threatened ecosystems.