Meetings for 2013-2014

Monday, October 21, 2013 7:45 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. R. Troy McMullin, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario Herbarium Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

Presentation: Lichens: Individuals or Ecosystems?

Description: Find out more about Dr. McMullin

Monday, November 18, 2013 7:45 p.m.

Speaker: Dylan Gordon, PhD Candidate, specializing in Canada's wild food trade Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Presentation: How Commercial Wild Mushroom Pickers­ Harvest Huge Quantities — And Why

Description: Ten pounds of wild edible mushrooms is a big haul for most hobbyist foragers. But for a professional picker, it's a sign it's time to find a new patch. Their livelihood depends on securing substantial quantities of morels, chanterelles, pine mushrooms or other edible varieties, for days and months on end. Focusing on how they accomplish this feat, this talk provides an introduction to the Canadian wild food trade. Focusing on why, it reveals the social, environmental and economic values motivating this unique form of forest industry. 

Find out more about Dylan 

Monday, February 10, 2014 7:45 p.m.

Speaker: Michael Warnock

Presentation: More than Morels: Common Field Ascomycetes of the Spring

Monday, March 17, 2014 7:45 p.m.

Speaker: Richard Summerbell

Presentation: What are mushrooms, really?  And why do they sometimes have those amazing colours?

Description: I start off comparing the known functions of mushrooms to the parallel functions of other items.  For example, the mushroom shape is like an umbrella, and sure enough, keeping rain away from the spores is important. The pileus really shares a function with an umbrella. But then I get into mushroom characteristics that are hard to assign a function to. For example, why is the species Lactarius indigo bright blue? Does something critical in its ecology recognize it using that colour? Not as far as we know. Is it a warning colour ('aposemy'), like the magenta of milkweed caterpillars? Apparently not - the fungus is edible. Is it a fake warning colour, like the bee patterning on hoverflies?  Not as far as we can tell. Certainly there's no poisonous blue mushroom that this species is mimicking. Is the blue pigment a developmental coincidence? Hard to rule out, but it does seem to follow a trend for larger mushrooms to be vividly and anomalously coloured. Can't all be coincidence. So what's the blue about, then, most likely? The answer is far more strange than you'd ever imagine. It relates to something more deeply fundamental than the functions of any individual adaptation. 

Monday, April 28, 2014 7:45 p.m.

Speaker: TBD
Presentation: TBD


Updated Jan. 29th 2014