Book Review

Fungi in the Environment

Edited by Geoffrey M. Gadd, Sarah C. Watkinson, & Paul S. Dyer
2007, British Mycological Society
ISBN 978-0-521-85029-2
$213.00 / hardback /386 pages
Cambridge University Press

Very similar to Fungi in Biogeochemical Cycles, this one deals with a somewhat broader area, with only a bit of overlap between the two. Given the degree of similarity, my general comments in the above review will also apply here. This volume also has 18 chapters, this time divided into six topical groupings. Forty-nine authors from 10 countries contributed.

The section and chapter titles are: I. Imaging and modeling of fungi in the environment—Imaging complex nutrient dynamics in mycelial networks; Natural history of the fungal hypha: how Woronin bodies support a multicellular lifestyle; Environmental sensing and the filamentous fungal lifestyle; and Mathematical modeling of the form and function of fungal mycelia. II. Functional ecology of saprotrophic fungi—Mineral transformations and biogeochemical cycles: a geomycological perspective; Mycelial responses in heterogeneous environments: parallels with macroorganisms; Natural abundance of 15N and 13C in saprotrophic fungi: what can they tell us? III. Mutualistic interactions in the environment—Mycorrhizas and the terrestrial carbon cycle: roles in global carbon sequestration and plant community composition; Water relations in lichens; Development of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis: insights from genomics. IV. Pathogenic interactions in the environment—Functional genomics of plant infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea; Exploring the interaction between nematode-trapping fungi and nematodes by using DNA microarrays; Role of α(1-3)-glucan in Aspergillus fumigatus and other human fungal pathogens; Plagues upon houses and cars: the unnatural history of Meruliporia incrassata, Serpula lacrymans, and Sphaerobolus stellatus. V. Environmental population genetics of fungi—Fungal species: thoughts on their recognition, maintenance, and selection; Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) in fungi. VI. Molecular ecology of fungi in the environment—Fungi in the hidden environment: the gut of beetles; and A saltmarsh decomposition system and its ascomycetous laccase genes.

Like the Biogeochemistry volume, the one carries a much-too-steep price tag that will prevent it from getting the widespread readership it deserves. Hopefully those with an interest will live near a university library where they can photocopy or scan selected chapters for personal use.

— Review by Steve Trudell, Seattle, WA
— Originally published in Fungi Magazine