I just read an incredible interview with Paul Stamets, a mycologist (a.k.a. fungus scientist) who has written a number of books, including one called Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World.
Although fungus may not sound particularly exciting or interesting, I think you may change your mind after hearing what Stamets has to say.
A few tidbits from the interview:
- The largest organism in the world is a mycelial mat in eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres and is more than two thousand years old.
- These mycelial mats are sentient and in constant communication with themselves -- they use many of the same neurotransmitters that humans use to communicate!
- Fungi are the vast recyclers of the natural world. They're capable of breaking down toxic substances, pollutants, etc., into their fundamental elements -namely things like carbon dioxide and water.
The interview was published in the February issue of The Sun magazine and you can click here to read the first few pages of it on their site (but you have to order the print issue to read the full piece.)
OR you can read this Salon.com interview with him.
OR you can watch Paul Stamets' talk on the TED web site - click here to watch him.
He is incredibly knowledgeable, passionate about the fungi he studies and about saving our environment, and refreshingly sane and down to earth. Plus he just seems like a fun guy (sorry, I couldn't resist...)
There is also lots more info on his web site at http://www.fungi.com