[BELL RINGING] SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University.
SPEAKER 2: Mushrooms are mum and mysterious things, and won't tell their own tales. In a lecture presented at Mann Library, for Cornell Reunion 2013, mycologist and director of Cornell's Plant Pathology Herbarium, Dr. Kathie T Hodge, talks for them, as she introduces an array of fascinating fungal specimens, and the remarkable Cornellians who have shaped our understanding of fungi in all their wondrous forms.
Among our cast of characters is a mushroom discovered on the Cornell campus in 1902, and then never seen again. Lost fungi collected during the Cornell Perry expedition to Greenland in 1896. An odd little fungus that subverts the sex drive of a moss. The world's most poisonous mushroom, named right here at Cornell. And even some fantastically exotic seeming fungi that grow in your own house and yard.
KATHIE HODGE: Thank you, Mary. Am I on?
Hi. The summary of Mary's introduction is I'm Kathie, and I like fungus. OK? We could have done it that way. And also I am an alum, and apparently, I can't get away from this place.
So what I'd like to talk to you about today are an array of different fungi that are somehow associated with Cornell. And I think the stories of fungi are very interesting. And I think that most people don't know very much about fungi, so they may, when you say fungus, they either go, mm, mushrooms, or they say, eew, why would you work on that, that's disgusting. It's very polarized. But you guys, by the time you leave anyway, will I'm sure be champions of fungi, just like me.
Here are some fungi we collected near Ithaca, with one of my classes. I'll tell you more about the class later.
Here's a little fungus that I like, and this picture was taken by Kent Loeffler, who's sitting back there quietly. This beautiful pink fungus is-- it grows at the kind of scale that is my favorite scale. How big do you think this fungus is? Tell me when to stop.
KATHIE HODGE: Smaller?
Here's the size. It's really hard to pick a mushroom that small. As you can tell, I totally squashed it. That's the scale of life that I love the most. And I've spent most of my career now working on very small things, very small and lovely things.
And some small fungi are evil, as Mary mentioned. Perhaps I am an evil mycologist. That's a scary thought isn't it? Do I look evil? How many people think I look evil?
You've been in my classes.
Here's an evil fungus though. This is a new fungus the white-- that causes white nose disease of bats. Started in Albany, New York, not too far from here, and has been spreading up and down the eastern seaboard, up into Canada, down into further and further south every year. And it's killing off huge numbers of bats.
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah, so the question is do I really mean-- is it a new fungus, really? Well, kind of, yeah. It actually just got a name a couple of years ago. Had never been known by science before.
But the question of is it a new fungus, did it appear out of nowhere? Probably not. It probably came over from Europe, where it doesn't cause too many problems with European bats. But when it got here, and it started out in Howe's Cavern up near Albany, it became very evil and is wiping out bat populations around here.
So there's an evil fungus. Here's another evil fungus. Fungi get a bad name, right? We get a lot of bad press.
This is-- I'm talking here about a fungus that is rendering amphibians around the world extinct. It's a little tiny swimmy fungus called a chytrid. And this frog now no longer exists in its native habitat in the wild, and it's one of over a dozen amphibian species that are already extinct because of this fungus. Sometimes we deserve our bad reputation as fungus people.
Have any of you seen this in your own home?
No? No, you don't have this. It's only me.
This is a loaf of bread with a very common fungus, penicillium chrysogenum, that we both love and hate. So the evil, right, it eats our bread. Hate that.
But the good-- oh, the other part of the evil of this fungus is that we're all allergic to it. Most of us are allergic to this fungus. And it lives in our homes and makes us sneeze. It's horrible.
But the good part of this fungus is it makes penicillin, and penicillin was an antibiotic that revolutionized the treatment of bacterial disease. So we're starting to get a glimmer of goodness out of fungi. Right? Will you grant me that?
Am I still completely evil? Who thinks I'm completely evil? OK, that's good. Only 47 of you.
Here's a fairly evil fungus though. This one is growing on a little kernel of corn here, in a picture again taken by Kent Loeffler. A grad student in my department was working on this fungus recently. And this fungus is a beautiful parrot green fungus, but unfortunately it makes a horrible mycotoxin called aflatoxin, which if you eat too much of it, can not only make you immediately sick, but can cause cancer over the long term.
So I'm not trying to say that fungi aren't evil sometimes. In fact, here's a fungus that I met last summer. It ate the roof of my house, and now I have a new roof. This is a piece of plywood sheathing that was under the shingles on my roof, and as you can see, it's pretty much digested by a fungus called gloeophyllum. So I'm just proving a point, aren't I, fungi are evil.
Here's a Petri dish of fungal colonies that a student of mine generated. She took home an empty Petri dish, an uncolonized Petri dish, and exposed it for one hour in her home. And this is what grew. That's pretty scary, yeah. But we do live with fungi all the time.
KATHIE HODGE: Can't-- what's the question can't they all get along?
They're doing OK there. You can actually see, if you look up close at that Petri dish, some fungi just grow right over each other and they don't care, and other fungi stop when they meet another fungus. It's actually kind of interesting.
Here's a fungus that impacts our daily lives. This is coffee rust. And coffee rust originated in Africa, but has since spread all over the world and causes immense economic damage.
Now coffee is not a staple crop in the sense that rice or wheat is. Well, some people think it's a staple crop.
Could we get by without coffee? It turns out to be the most economically valuable crop in the world, and this coffee rust fungus is the most damaging factor to coffee cultivation worldwide. So this is maybe the most expensive fungus. I don't know, we could have a competition for the most expensive fungus.
So that's evil, but I'm just going to show you two slides to demonstrate that fungi can be so good that we could forgive them all that evil. This one is a picture of amanita muscaria, which if you are a fan of gnomes, or elves, or video games, you'll probably know this fungus, right? A beautiful classic fungus with a red cap and white dots. And gnomes live with them-- I don't know what the gnome thing is. I don't study gnomes.
But the secret part of the lifestyle of this fungus is this part, the mycorrhizal associations that it forms with trees. And it turns out that forests-- like the one that we can see out the window there-- and grasslands wouldn't exist in their current form without fungi, fungal associates of the roots. They're called mycorrhizin.
So the picture, at the bottom here, is a picture of pine roots that are interacting with that fungus, amanita muscaria. And if they don't, the pines don't grow so well. They can't survive well in poor soils or difficult places. So all of our plants landscape is linked together by these secret underground networks of fungi that not only support the growth of the plant they're hooked up to, but network among plants.
And there's some new evidence that a plant that's hooked up to the mycorrhizal network can listen to other plants down the line, and find out, oh, my neighbor's having a problem with aphids. Maybe I'll activate my aphid defense. So this network underlies our whole botanical landscape, and it is very little known. So there's one good thing that fungi do for the planet.
The other good thing is they make wine. Yeasts are fungi, right? Who likes yeast?
Some of you don't. Some of you may have had encounters with bad yeasts. I'm not going to talk about them now, and I definitely won't show any pictures.
OK. So for some reason, I don't know if I was dropped on my head as a baby or something, but I became fascinated by fungi. So here I am telling you about fungi. My whole academic career is devoted to molds, yeasts, and mushrooms. Horrible despicable things, but also some good things too.
So here I am at Cornell. At Cornell I direct the Cornell plant Pathology Herbarium, as Mary said, which is a huge collection. I didn't even show you a picture of it, because it's not pretty. But this is our web site.
The herbarium itself is a gigantic storehouse of fungal biodiversity. That's what we do. We-- if you walked into the herbarium right now, you would open the door and see long rows of metal green cases. Very exciting, right? We're not exactly a public-- you don't bring your kids to our museum.
But if you open the door of one of those cases, you find inside many, many little envelopes, and in each envelope or box, you find a single specimen of a fungus like this. This is actually a fungus collected in China. It's part of our repatriation project from a few years ago. We repatriated a big chunk of our collection to its native land, China.
But this is-- basically, our whole collection is like this. And this is a pretty one. You open the envelope, and there's something inside that is of immense biological utility. Scientific information is associated with this physical specimen.
We're kind of like a library in that we actually loan out our specimens. So people around the world write us and they say, can we borrow your red fungus? And we say, sure, and we mail it to them. They study it, and they send it back to us.
But we're not like a library in that every fungus that we have is unique. Nobody else has a copy of our books. Right?
So this biological legacy is in my care right now and it extends over the last 125 years of Cornell history. And it's pretty exciting to be a part of, but the boring part is you open the cabinet and there's just rows upon rows, hundreds of thousands of little paper envelopes and boxes. So I thought what I'd do today is try to tell you the stories of a few of those fungi.
They often don't look so good after 100 years in the herbarium. And this specimen here used to be a mushroom 100 years ago, but now it just looks like a piece of crap.
Well, pretty much all our specimens look like stuff you would sweep off your floor, if you saw it. But this is the type specimen, the first specimen of its kind ever described and named of a fungus that lives in California. So we have about 7,000 of those.
And the story of the herbarium starts, mainly, with George Atkinson. We've just finished a big project to digitize Atkinson's collection. And part of our nice exhibit upstairs, on the second floor, is about his legacy and his impact on the development of the science of fungi.
He was a pretty neat guy, although I don't know why he looks so sad in this photo. He was a Cornell alum too, and he had a long and productive career here at Cornell as a professor. He described at least 285 species of fungi and a bunch of genera, and had a huge impact on the development of the field.
Here are some pictures he took. So these are hundreds year old pictures he took of fungi, and he was a pioneer in the field of scientific photography. So here he is with this camera, and if you look closely over there, you can actually see the mushrooms that he's photographing that day.
And this was a new thing in his time, in the late 1800s, early 1900s. So if you studied fungi at that time, you spent a lot of time reading Latin descriptions of fungi, but it was hard to develop a sense of what they really looked like. And so some of his impact on our field was to really pioneer the routine photography of mushrooms, so that other people could figure out what they were.
And because of that skill of his, we now hold about 8,000 of his original negatives. And here's one of his negatives. They are glass negatives with emulsion painted on them.
And this is me standing on the roof of the building, and Kent took my picture. I was really worried I would drop that thing in the gravel (CHUCKLING) and it would break. And right now my friend Claire, who's sitting next to Kent back there, is helping us fix the ones that we did break. Not me. Someone else broke them.
So we're sitting on top of this enormous biological legacy of Atkinson's, and our goal for the last three years has been to make this available, not just by talking to you about it, but by actually scanning everything. So we're just in the process of putting all his ancient photographs online. We had students over the last three years who typed in data off his scrawly handwritten labels. Now we can look at our collection in a new way. It's pretty exciting.
And we found some cool stuff along the way. Andrew D White, you guys know this guy? Yeah, he was a Cornell guy. He was President of Cornell University, and his house is still standing, a little bit down campus there. Nice house.
Why am I showing you a picture of this? That's odd. Aren't I a mycologist? You know why? Do you want to tell us?
AUDIENCE: There's fungi in the front [INAUDIBLE].
KATHIE HODGE: How did you know?
So here's a fungus that was described in-- collected in 1902 off the lawn of the A D White House at Cornell University, where there have been mycologists for five generations of academics. Here is a fungus that was described from that place, and we have never found it again. Now if all of you would just wander down there today and root around in the grass, that would be immensely helpful.
But Atkinson described this fungus in the early 1900's.
Yes, you have questions?
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah. So you're going to ask me, if it's never been described again, what-- how did I get this color photograph of it? Yes, it's because I have magical powers!
No. This photograph is actually of something that looks very similar to the description from 1902, right, but probably isn't exactly the same. This picture was taken in Georgia, and this mushroom differs a little from the original description. So I'm showing you this picture as a search aid. I feel like I should have a million dollar prize for whoever finds this fungus, but I don't.
Here's the A D White House today. The landscapes not too much different than how it used to look in the early 1900's, so maybe this fungus is still there. It fruited in the fall. Maybe we'll find it this year.
But I'll tell you, if this seems like an odd story, this is just normal for fungus. If you work on fungus, the vast majority of the world is unknown, OK? We don't know the vast majority of things about fungi. In fact, we think we've only named about 1 in 10 of the fungi that actually exist, or maybe even less than that.
Like take a minute for that to sink in. We only know 10% of, or less, of the fungi that exists on the planet. First of all, that's a hard number to estimate, but pretty much all my colleagues agree on that number. We know a tiny fraction. Every time we discover something new it messes up our whole classification system, and so we have to change the names of things, which pisses people off.
So I'm involved in the enterprise of taxonomy, the naming and describing of fungi. And it's pretty exciting. It's kind of like this vast frontier. Fungi are mysterious.
This mushroom is perhaps one of the most notorious mushrooms in North America, or maybe the world. It's called the destroying angel. Who would like to eat a meal of destroying angels? It was a trick question. My general rule from my class is if it's named the destroying angel, death cap, or if it's named after Satan, don't eat it.
So this is George Atkinson's photograph of the first mushroom to be named the destroying angel. He described it from right here in Ithaca, and it's been killing people ever since. In fact, it-- a staff member at Cornell ate this mushroom some years ago.
This is a picture of the actual mushroom that he brought in. He ate three destroying angels. This is the fourth. He survived the three, and I think it's good he didn't eat the fourth.
Because this mushroom is called the destroying angel, because if you eat it, it's toxins actually inactivate your cellular machinery. They stop the synthesis of proteins in your cells, and that's pretty much how organisms operate. We make proteins, that allows us to live. This mushroom stops all that. So people who eat this mushroom die painfully of kidney or liver failure, usually. It's a really hard way to go.
There's no antidote. So the only treatment is supportive care. You try to keep the person comfortable, keep their electrolytes good, and you hope they recover. And in this case, the man who ate these mushrooms did recover. It was a transformational moment in his life, and he spent a long time in the hospital, but he did recover.
[AUDIENCE RESPONSES] Did he know what they were?
KATHIE HODGE: He did not know what they were. Yes. Well, so this happens. This is how mushroom poisonings happen, right?
You see a mushroom, smells really good, looks great, you might even nibble and it tastes OK. Maybe slugs are eating it, and that convinces you it's not poisonous. And maybe it looks like something you thought you remembered eating once, right? I don't recommend that approach.
There's also some useful folklore like, if you boil your mushroom with a silver coin, if the coin tarnished-- no. Don't. No. No. That does not work.
We've actually tried that as an experiment in the lab. We didn't have a proper control, because the right control for the experiment would have been to mushroom with the coin and record the tarnishing of the coin. And then we'd have to have someone eat the mushroom to demonstrate it was actually poisonous. So we haven't done the full scientific experiment. But no! Not the coin.
So I deal a fair amount with mushroom poisoning cases that come in through poison control centers. Also dog poisoning cases that come in through the vet school, because it turns out dogs have no innate sense of what's good to eat and what's not, right? Maybe one of you has a Labrador retriever who ate a sock at some point, you know? That is not good food. Dogs make mistakes about what they eat. So one of my jobs, as a Cornell professor, is to help people in the situation of having eaten something they shouldn't have eaten, and sometimes knowing what they ate really can inform the treatment.
Anyway, this mushroom belongs to us here at Cornell. Was first described here. And it's just another demonstration of how horrible and evil mushrooms can be.
This picture, does anyone recognize this mountain? There's a mountain there. It's in Washington state. Yeah, it's Mount Rainier. This photograph here is the last photograph from George Atkinson's camera, because he died in Washington state while he was there collecting mushrooms near Mount Rainier. And unfortunately, it ended his life just as he was about to put together a gigantic treatise on all North American mushrooms. And we're so sorry that we lost.
So I want to switch gears now and talk about this man, whose beard is somehow integrated with the hood on his jacket. He's not a Cornell alum. This is Robert Peary. Robert Peary, famous arctic explorer, and we could debate for hours about whether he was, in fact, the first man to reach the North Pole or not. But we're not going to go there. This is a mycology talk.
In 1896, a bunch of Cornell people joined Robert Peary in an expedition to the Arctic, and they collected, up there, some of the first specimens of fungi ever known from Western Greenland. It was professors Ralph Tarr and Adam Gill, and they were geology professors. They went with Peary, because Peary was interested in geology, at the time, and I'll show you what he was looking for in a minute. They took four Cornell undergrads, which must have been a remarkable trip back in 1896, right? Holy mackerel, I would have liked to be there.
They collected 135 species of plants, which were later identified by Cornell botanists, and formed an important baseline for what we know about Greenland today. And on some of those plants were these little black specs, and although we'd like to have every mushroom big and handsome, very many fungi are small ugly black specs like this. And we found, as we were digitizing Atkinson's herbarium recently, that we have a whole bunch of these in the herbarium, and we didn't know. These have been languishing in our herbarium since about 1900. Nobody's ever written about them. They're just there in our giant cache of treasures. There they are.
They were collected near this blue dot here in Greenland, on the Western shores of Greenland. The red dot is where Peary was headed, and I'll show you what was up there in a minute. But this is-- I became curious, reading about these fungi, to find out how did Cornell people come along on this northern cruise, you know? That wasn't exactly a normal experience for an undergrad.
And it turns out it all relates to the typewriter. The typewriter was a game changing invention, right? Had really nothing to do with mycology. But the typewriter-- the typewriter is what made the financiers of the Arctic Peary expedition rich.
So way back in the day, the Weiskopf family bought the patent for the typewriter, and sold this Remington typewriter to huge numbers of people. Opened a school to teach you how to type on it, and became very wealthy. And the sons of this family were born very wealthy, and they decided that they would like to facilitate arctic exploration, raise fancy chickens, build fancy houses, and other things. This was the Weiskopf family back in the day, in Ithaca.
And so the Weiskopf family financed the Cornell involvement in Peary's mission. Peary's mission in 1896 was to find this meteorite, the-- I can't-- I can't even say it, the Ahnighito. The Ahnighito meteorite.
Have any of you heard of the Ahnighito meteorite? It was very large. It took a lot of gear to get this meteorite from Greenland to the American Museum of Natural History, where it now resides. And if any of you have been in the Hall of Minerals in the American Museum of Natural History, there is a giant rock there. That's this rock.
So the Cornell team went along to collect fungi with Peary's expedition that was aimed to recover this giant meteorite, which Peary had himself discovered. We knew about it before Peary found it, because the native peoples in Greenland used it as a source of iron to make their tools. It was a mystery for almost 80 years as to how these northern peoples got iron. They all had these iron tip tools. And Peary tracked down the location of the meteorite. And we could debate about whether he stole it from the people of Greenland or whether he bought it, but the American Museum of Natural History bought it from Peary for about $40,000.
So there it is, and this object is about 4.5 billion years old! And it came from outer space. It's a meteorite, which I think is pretty cool.
Cornell had a second involvement with Peary. And this is a newspaper clipping. Can you all read it OK? This is a telegram sent by the president of Cornell in 1909 upon Peary's achievement of the North Pole. Right? Peary either did or didn't reach the North Pole in 1909.
And the president of Cornell at the time mentioned another Cornell professor who also went to the North Pole with Peary, but died before he got there. And he either fell through the ice, or was killed off by his guides. Another mystery of the Arctic.
So we have this interesting collaboration between arctic exploration and mycology that was financed by typewriters. So I told you all that story just to tell you that we have these 28 specimens they all look pretty much like this, little flecks of fungi on tiny pieces of plants from Greenland 100 years ago. And that's just kind of one of the many treasures we hold in the herbarium.
KATHIE HODGE: I have not. I have not looked at these fungi more closely. Some of them do have names on them, so we know vaguely what they are. But nobody's ever written them up. So that's-- yeah, I'll get right to that.
I wanted to just tell you about a few other treasures that we hold, and I'll tell you a few other stories about Cornell. Here's a fungus probably none of you have ever noticed, because it's only, again, it's that scale that I like, right? It's less than a centimeter tall, and this is a fungus that grows only on mosses. And it-- I said in my paragraph of introduction that it subverts their sex drive.
This is a fungus I've been looking for my whole life, because it's so interesting. Just like-- it's just like its lifestyle is so interesting and its weirdness is interesting to me. And I'm drawn to, apparently, evil and weird things.
So if you think about a moss, the structure of a moss, it has that bottom leafy part. That's called the gametophyte. And then it has that little stalk with the little capsule on top, very pretty.
And if this moss is infected by my fungus, it doesn't make that little capsule on top. The capsule is where the moss is having sexual reproduction. But the fungus replaces the sexual reproduction of the moss with its own thing, and that's the fungus having sex up there. Woo hoo! Mycologists, we always talk about sex and poo, just so you know. Also death, we like that.
So my fungus here is actually replacing the top part of the sporophyte up there, and the capsule of the moss. Here's what it looks like. And I found this fungus, which I've been hoping to find. I said my whole life, but honestly, my whole adult life I was looking for this fungus. I found this in my front yard.
I wanted to segue a little bit and talk about some of Cornell's other characters of mycology. This is Herbert Heist Wetzel. He was the founding chair of the Department of Plant Pathology, back in 1907, the department I now belong to. And he was an inspiring teacher, and had a huge impact on Cornell's footprint in mycology. He and I have the same birthday, September 5th. Write that down.
He was hired at a time when Cornell was developing their outreach programs. They wanted scientists who not only did science, but taught people how to use it. So Wetzel's focus, at the beginning of his job, was in disseminating scientific information, and this is something that I actually think Cornell scientists are really good at.
So here's Wetzel in his early days mixing up vats of toxic chemicals at some fair where farmers could come and learn how to do this stuff. We have lots of pictures of Wetzel doing stuff like this. That's him with the spoon back there.
We still do this today. So here's a picture of my colleague, Tom Zitter. This one, not the Gnome. Tom runs a public outreach site that can help you figure out what fungi are eating the tomatoes in your garden, and other plant diseases you might run into.
Another person in our cast of characters here at Cornell is Richard Korf. Has anyone met Dick Korf? Yeah. Yeah, inspiring man. He just celebrated his 88th birthday last week. Happy birthday, Dick.
And here he is. He worked on cup fungi for much of his career. Here he is chopping down a morel. And I have to tell you, he was-- he would always feel compelled to explain that this morel illustration is great, but not taxonomically accurate, because morel stems are hollow.
If you're a taxonomist, that's very important distinction to make. And here's a false morel, which is actually named after him, gyromitra korfii. So I recommend you eat this one-- this one, and not this one.
And we have some other inspiring teachers around. Up in the top corner there is Theresa Pawlowska, who studies mycorrhizal fungi. Right? Those underground networks we talked about at the beginning. She'll be teaching the Intro to Fungi course next fall.
And at the bottom there is Gillian Turgeon. Seldom seen on camera, but here she is explaining difficult concepts of plant resistance to fungi by drawing crazy squares and tic-tac-toe boards all over the place. A pioneer in fungal genetics and genomics.
And probably a bunch of you have heard of George Hudler, who is there in the background. He seems to be stealing fungi from my class.
But there he is. And you know George Hudler, right? He teaches a class called Magical Mushrooms Mischievous Molds, which in recent years, has attracted 500 students per semester. That's a huge that's of course on fungus, people. So he's a great professor, and has won many well-deserved awards in the last couple of years. And he was totally stealing the fungi from my class.
So part of our goal at Cornell here is to not only study fungi, but to disseminate information about them, and also to train the next generations of mycologists, right? People who know something about fungi, at least enough to be able to communicate what they know to other people.
So this is my class from a couple of years ago. I teach a class on mushroom identification. They're usually pretty happy. We take them to beautiful Cornell natural areas around town. So this is Eames Bog, which some of you might have visited. Very beautiful bogg, and in the fall especially, the colors are very striking.
And what we do is we go to these natural areas, and we pick mushrooms. It's true. You can pick mushrooms and get credit for it.
Here's one of my students with a big handsome edible mushroom called the maitake. They were often happy, even when they found poisonous mushrooms like this jack o' lantern, which actually grew right here on campus along Tower Road. Lots of good fungi on campus.
In the evenings, we bring the fungus-- the fungi we collect back to the labs. And we try to figure out what they are, which is surprisingly difficult, but surprisingly satisfying. Right? There's a learning curve, and the best way to learn fungi is to have somebody help you. So in this course, we look at all the fungi we collect together, and we work together to figure them all out. I don't know all the fungi. There's so many of them, and there's lots that don't even have names yet.
So we have fun. We sometimes eat the things we find. Although, I recommend that you cook them first.
And I also have students write for my blog, which is the way that I tell stories on a larger scale. We get about 6,000 to 8,000 people viewing our blog site per month, which I think is pretty good, considering it's fungus. And here's the recent story Mary mentioned. It really is about fungi that grew on mammoth poo, and how we can use those fungi to look at the dates of extinctions of mammoths in North America, which is pretty cool.
We have another one there, the flying salt shakers of death, which is about a fungus that attacks the periodical cicada, which is now emerging in massive numbers. A little further toward the coast, right now, right? Are you part of the endemic area? Must be so exciting.
Well, it turns out there a fungus that does nothing, but eat the butts off periodical cicada.
It kills them, but not until after it's eaten the butt off of the bug. And then the bug flies around for a while, sprinkling spores out its back end which can infect other cicadas before it eventually dies. And that's just too cool, you know? I don't know, do I have to explain why that's cool? Anyway, that's kind of my job is to explain why fungi are cool.
So I'm going to wrap up now, and thank you for coming. I just gave you a little taste of some of the stuff that we've been working on. But for more, you can go up to the second floor exhibit, in Mann, where we have lots of cool images and stories about other fungi that I haven't told you about. And thank you for your attention.
SPEAKER 1: This has been a production of Cornell University. On the web at Cornell.edu.
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Kathie Hodge, associate professor of mycology and director of Cornell's Plant Pathology Herbarium, unravels some of the mysteries of mushrooms and fungal species, and the Cornellians who have shaped our understanding of fungi in all their forms, in "More Mushroom Alumni," a Reunion 2013 lecture held Friday, June 7.
Hodge's topics include a mushroom discovered on the Cornell campus in 1902, then never seen again; lost fungi collected during the 1896 Peary expedition to Greenland that involved several Cornell students; an odd little fungus that subverts the sex drive of a moss; the world's most poisonous mushroom, which was named at Cornell; and some exotic-seeming backyard fungi.