Research

Mushrooms Make Their Own Breeze

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Mushrooms don’t rely on a stray breeze to spread their spores; they generate their own air currents instead. The key is evaporation. The mushroom cap contains large amounts of water, and, as this water evaporates, it cools the mushroom and the air next to it. This cool air is denser than the surrounding air, and so tends to spread out and convect. At the same time, though, the water vapor that evaporated from the mushroom is less dense than nearby air, which helps it rise. This combination of spreading and rising air carries spores away from the mushroom cap and, as seen in the video above, can combine to form beautiful and complex currents that spread the spores. (Video credit: E. Dressaire et al.)

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