Friday, September 1, 2017

Anim8Nature: Fungus Now Screening

Anim8Nature, an educational resource in development, is driven by questions. We are creating 10 animated life cycles and educational resources to explore science with art. Our mission above all else is to spark curiosity and get people of all ages asking questions. 

Spores (very enlarged) being released from a shell fungus
Animating the shell fungus was a big challenge because, well, fungi don't do much. They don't have a lot of pretty body parts that move around like butterflies or jellyfish. Also, everyone has seen a butterfly or an acorn and get it. Fungi are all around us and while most all of us have seen a mushroom and even eaten a few, seeing this kind of fungus in the woods is not a universal experience. So part of the challenge was to believe that they are interesting enough to warrant a slot among the 10 featured organisms. Yes, they are important and they are fascinating. Fungi provide a very valuable role, among other things, they return dead material to the soil so it can be used again. 

As I was completing this animation I had a meeting with Dr. Greg Eaton, Director of the Claytor Center and biology professor at Lynchburg College. He was very helpful in answering some questions I had about how the spores were spread and how they grew in the log. He drew a diagram that detailed the slow growth of the spores initially until they meet their "mate/match" and then energized they grow more quickly. Here is a fascinating photograph of agaricus bisporus basidiospores taken under a microscope. It is amazing to see them enlarged and takes us into a whole new world.

  Agaricus bisporus, Basidiospores
Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College - Source and public domain notice at http-//
Please share this post and the links for Anim8Nature with teachers, parents and kids who might be interested in exploring science with art and getting kids outside as environmental stewards. Tell me what you think. We want these to be valuable resources.

Anim8Nature on YouTube

Learn more about our work at

Recent Posts include:
Fungus Among Us  

Animating Fungus: You have to be Kidding

Animated Jellyfish Life Cycle

Animating Science 

1 comment:

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