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2.3: Fungi

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    Kingdom Fungi includes an enormous variety of living organisms. While scientists have identified about 150,000 species of fungi, this is only a fraction of the several million species of fungi likely present on Earth. Organisms in this group are heterotrophic eukaryotes that eat by external digestion, then absorption. Fungi can be unicellular (yeasts) or composed of filamentous cells called hyphae, which taken together form a thallus called the mycelium.

    • 2.3.1: Introduction to Fungi
      The word fungus is from the Latin word for mushroom, which is also similar to the Greek word for sponge. Indeed, the familiar mushroom is a reproductive structure used by only some of the fungi. There are many fungal species that don't produce mushrooms at all. The kingdom Fungi includes an enormous variety of living organisms collectively referred to as Eucomycota, or true Fungi.
    • 2.3.2: Characteristics of Fungi
      What features do we use to classify organisms into Kingdom Fungi? This section considers the life cycle, morphology, cellular make up, and nutritional modes of fungi.
    • 2.3.3: Ecology of Fungi
      Where are fungi found, what roles do they have in nutrient cycling, and how do they interact with other organisms?
    • 2.3.4: Microfungi
      The term microfungi encompasses the more ancestral lineages of fungi that form microscopic fruiting bodies, including chytrids, zygospore-forming lineages, and the glomeromycetes. Yeasts and molds from the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are commonly grouped with the microfungi.
    • 2.3.5: Macrofungi
      The term macrofungi refers to the fungal lineages that make macroscopic fruiting bodies: Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. These groups are sister taxa and are commonly referred to as higher fungi, as they are more recently diverged in the fungal phylogeny. There are molds, yeasts, and other fungi contained within these groups (such as the rusts and smuts) that do not form macroscopic fruiting structures.
    • 2.3.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life
      Although people often associate fungi with disease and food spoilage, fungi are important to human life on many levels. They form important symbiotic relationships that influence ecosystem services. Humans use fungi directly for food, medicine, bioremediation, construction of goods (e.g. packaging, fungus leather), and spiritual purposes.
    • 2.3.7: Chapter Summary
      A summary of broad chapter concepts.

    This page titled 2.3: Fungi is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha, Maria Morrow, & Kammy Algiers (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .