Chapter 1: 21st century fungal communities

This second edition of our book continues to emphasise interactions between fungi and other organisms to bring out the functions and behaviours of biological systems; but this edition features a thorough section-by-section update from mycology-2008/10 to mycology-2019/20.

However, we continue to maintain our aim to:

  • concentrate on integration rather than reduction, to satisfy those who would see systems biology as a paradigm of scientific method;
  • include computational modelling and bioinformatics for those who view systems biology in terms of operational research protocols;
  • bring together data about biological systems from diverse interdisciplinary sources, to offer our readers a comprehensive, all-embracing view of today’s fungal biology..

In this Chapter we examine present day communities; starting with the essential terrestrial habitat and the nature and formation of soil. We emphasise the contributions made by fungi to soil structure and chemistry; and particularly what has come to be called geomycology. We also discuss the diversity of organisms in soil and illustrate interactions between bacteria, amoebae (including slime moulds), fungi, nematodes, microarthropods and larger animals. The origins of agriculture are briefly mentioned and our dependence on fungi briefly illustrated.

For the price of a Coffee & Morning Bun ($5) you can buy yourself a PDF file of this chapter from 21st Century Guidebook to Fungi Online.

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Updated July, 2019