May Field Day: Box Cutting Rainforest
4th May, 2019
SUMMARY & FOLLOW-UP
Boxcutting Rainforest is a patch of temperate rainforest vegetation just a short drive north from Narooma.
With the guidance of local naturalists, we explored the fungi and flora of this special place.
Box Cutting Rainforest is truly a fungal hot spot.
We were very lucky to have Teresa and John to guide us. They are experienced amateur mycologists with a deep knowledge of this patch of forest, developed over many years of careful observation and study. They explained the range of fungi and slime moulds growing among the leaf litter and fallen logs of the forest floor.
Fungi play a vital role in the ecosystem of the rainforest, yet for much of the year they remain hidden from sight. But this changes in Autumn, as many species suddenly make their presence known. Mushrooms of various kinds, and the extraordinarily beautiful, incredibly tiny, myxomycetes (‘slime moulds’).
Identifying local fungi
The best first-step in identifying the fungi and slime moulds you find is to check the species lists for our region. These include many stunning photographs and are well worth exploring. The links below open the ALCW NatureMapr database site
Of course, fungi were not the only life forms on display.
Even before an afternoon rain shower, low-growing mosses were glistening with water droplets.
There were tiny flies of various kinds feeding on the fungi. And even a few leeches made an appearance – hungry, but beautiful, nonetheless.
And, of course, there were the massive trees and a wide variety of vines, shrubs and ferns.
Click any image below to view the sighting information on NatureMapr
Do you have some good photos taken during the field day on Saturday? Please take a moment and add them to NatureMapr. Teresa, Jackie and others are keen to help identify your sightings, and to further build our biodiversity records for this forest site.
Fungi and Slime Moulds: want to learn more about their life cycles?
During the field day, someone asked about sexual reproduction in fungi. And many people were keen to learn more about slime moulds.
First, let’s be clear … slime moulds are not fungi. They belong to a completely different kingdom. Confusingly, they are often grouped together in books, and people who study fungi often also study slime moulds.
It’s a big topic, and I won’t even try to summarise. Instead, below are a couple of links that provide a good introduction for those keen to learn more.
Myxomycetes – Slime Moulds … a page on the Fungimap website that provides a very good overview, with links to other resources (and photos!)
Main Fungal Groups … another page on the Fungimap website, describing the two main divisions of fungi (Basidiomycota and Ascomycota) by ‘morphogroup’ (i.e. shape)
Fungal life cycle …simple, educational material developed by the Science Learning Hub – Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao, University of Waikato (and see image below)
Teresa will give a special presentation – The Wonders of Fungi – at our next Workshop, Friday 10th May. This will be a workshop not to be missed! Full details here