Mushrooms Provide Insights into Climate Change

Mushrooms Provide Insights into Climate Change

May 02, 2017
Amanita thiersii lawn ring -  Photo by Michael Kuo

“We thought that mushrooms could be a valuable indicator of responses of lawns to carbon dioxide levels in ecosystems because they feed on the dead grass and debris, or carbon, that lawns or other plants put into the ground,” says Erik Hobbie research professor of terrestrial ecology in UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS).  “Since it is challenging to measure blades of grass from grassland ecosystems over decades, we turned to mushrooms, which are widely available through previous collected specimens in labs and museums.”

This novel method — looking to mushrooms to study how vegetation landscapes have changed over time — could be used in the future to assess how grasslands are adapting to climate change and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations.

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