With the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness most definitely upon us, it’s a good time to start looking out for fungi. In fact, researchers have found that owing to climate warming, we now have twice as long to look for them as we used to have.
The average fungal fruiting season when records began was around 33 days, but in the last decade this has more than doubled, with first fruiting much earlier, and last fruiting much later. In addition, some species are beginning to fruit in spring as well as autumn, and mychorrhizal species (those that form mutually beneficial relationships with trees or other plants) may be switching or finding new hosts in some cases. The research, published in the journal Science, suggests an increase in late summer temperatures and autumn rainfall are significant, and that one outcome could be increased decay rates in forests.