AP BIO - FUNGI !

Abhishek M

Part A - Fungi's many Adaptations!

Fungi, specifically mushrooms, have developed gills on their underside in order to increase the production possibilities of basidospores. This is done by increasing the surface area. This adaptation was instrumental in these fungi being able to produce more of these essential basidospres.

Additionally, fungi have the ability to secrete exoenzymes. Exoenzymes digest organic compounds without being inside the fungal body. This allows fungi to have a larger breadth in terms of what it can consume. This, in turn, increases the survivability of fungi.

Another adaptation that has allowed fungi to be more successful in terms of survivability is the adaptation to use alternate methods for dispersing spores. Because fungi do not grow tall enough some fungi shoot spores through the boundary layer so they can disperse their spores. From here, spores can be caught by wind which can transport the spores much farther than they otherwise would have.

Part B - Reproduction!

In both asexual and sexual reproduction, fungi disperse spores. However, in asexual reproduction, fungi can use fragmentation or budding. These fragments known as hyphae grow into new colonies of fully functional fungi over time. Fragmentation can result in mycelium growing into separate parts of mycelium. Sexual reproduction varies greatly from these mechanisms. Fungal sexual reproduction requires two mycelia in order to reproduce. In this process, the mycelium must go through Plasmogamy, Karyogamy, and finally meiosis. This results in dispersion of the cells.

Part C - Impacts! (good and bad)

Fungi, in some cases, have the ability to recycle nutrients because of their roles as decomposers in most ecosystems. This process can dispose of plant matter such as cellulose and lignin. These recycle organic materials which is vital to the ecosystem in terms of attaining nutrients.

Fungi can be parasitic and can attack various plants and animals which can cause them to die prematurely or it can severely hamper their ability to operate. This has two sides of it; it reduces populations but it also in a sense allows the life cycle to continue on by maintaining balance in the ecosystem.

Additionally, fungi have an essential ecological impact in terms of plant growth. Fungi are vital to the growth of many crops due to mycorrhizae provide essential nutrients that allow more plants to grow in a given area. Through a symbiotic relationship, they maintain the health of plants. Nutrients such as phosphorous which are not always present in soil are made up for through fungi which can boost plant growth.