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tonydr12 t1_iugvogh wrote

Hello there!

They excrete chemical compounds called "exo-enzymes" that quite literally digest the medium around them.

Those exo-enzymes depend on the species of fungi. Also, the ground is already inhabited by lots and lots of fungi, and that leads to competition between them. They adapt to their environment, and if there were only hyphae and no ground left it would become a literal war. Survival of the fittest, sort of. Some would evolve traits that allowed them to consume other, weak species of fungi.

Thanks for listening to my TED talk!


femsci-nerd t1_iudtd7z wrote

Fungi break down things like dead animals in and around the soil so the simplier biochmeicals in the animal are made available in a form that trees and plants can absorb. They are a VERY important part of the ecosystem!


Meri_Stormhood OP t1_iudu2zq wrote

Thank you- My apologies,I think I didnt make my question clear enough, you see- I am writing a fantasy novel, and even though it will have fantastic elements I want these to be as realistic as possible to give the illusion they somehow fit into the nature of the world. In this case I was trying to understand what would happen in an environment in which all food sources have been all but spent and used by fungi- What would remain if the ground grows nothing but mycelium? Its also a question I've really wanted to know the answer to regardless of the use- They are just fascinating to me.


BadKarmaSimulator t1_iudw1ke wrote

It would likely be competing with other fungi, as any hobby mushroom grower knows too well. You might be able to flavor the enzymes released by the fungi as a sort of acid-damage hazard (note that enzymes in real life are proteins that break down complex chemicals, not acids).

Fun fact, many pine trees in the US are dependent on an underground mycelium network for healthy growth and are limited when it's not present. When beavers flood an area with their ponds, this mycelium network is killed. So when the beaver pond inevitably fills with sediment and becomes a beaver meadow, rather than being repopulated with pine trees, the area is largely repopulated by trees like aspens that don't require that same mycellium network to thrive. And since beavers don't eat pine trees but DO eat aspens, this ends up with beavers creating and sustaining their own ecological niche.

Beaver facts!


Meri_Stormhood OP t1_iudwijv wrote

Wow. Thats incredible! Thank you. I had thought about such idea, I'll give it a try- My problem is the description of the place, I do not know what remains of dirt (if it is dirt by that point) if fungi had eaten anything possible to eat in it.


RightWritingRites t1_iuedkcg wrote

I am a fan of this story premise. A fantasy setting that's written as plausibly as a hard sci-fi, fantastic. The world needs more of these.

With an interest in this flavor of story, you've surely read the Inheritance Cycle by Paolini right?


WaxyWingie t1_iug4p1q wrote

Huh, is there a book where one might read more about beavers in an entertaining manner described by yourself?


BadKarmaSimulator t1_iuid2az wrote

"Once They were Hats" by Frances Backhouse is what you're looking for. She writes a compelling history of our near extermination of the species and explains much of the ecological impacts of their habitation and absence.


WaxyWingie t1_iuix4bs wrote

Excellent, thank you. "Seas of slaughter" is a similar read, sounds like, concerned with marine species.


femsci-nerd t1_iueqn0b wrote

After the bomb was dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima they were called The Pink Cities because they turned pink from the aspergillis. There are spores everywhere and extreme temp changes cause them to bloom. The extreme heat of the bombs shocked the spores open and within 2, weeks the cities turned pink. To destroy the ecosystem to the point where fungi could not thrive wold be to destroy the area to the point that NOTHING could live.


Meri_Stormhood OP t1_iuetp0a wrote

Oh yes, That is the plan. For a specific area. But thank you very much! You have given me inspiration and a fascinating story!