Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross


Posted on November 17, 2010

When we here at the Walter M. Kronenberg Microbial and Fungal Research Lab at MIT began using time-lapse photography in our study of fungi, we discovered surprising results. It certainly wasn't the expected outcome of the experiment.

Originally, we had simply hoped to examine non-quantitative growth trends of Basidiomycota mushrooms as it related to the near infrared (NIR) spectrum. Based on projections, we expected a ten percent decrease in growth angle as cloud cover reached three oktas. What we found instead was an unpredictably erotic quality to the photography.

It was subtle, but something about the time-lapse and its virtual speeding up of mushroom growth ... I mean, none of us are art critics by any means. Most are Ph.D.s with specialties in spore-bearing fungus. But, these films moved us on a very core, very visceral level. There was a palpable sexuality to them. It was … hypnotic.

Don’t get me wrong, none of us are mushroom fetishists. (At least none of us came into this as mushroom fetishists. I’ve heard that’s big amongst Japanese fugi researchers.) No, we’re just ordinary post-doc men and women who’ve had our eyes opened to the sensual orchestra that is time-lapse mushroom growth.

I don’t want to go into detail about the titillating aspects of high-speed mushroom growth films--the engorged stems, the delicate release of the gill latticework, the pulsating throb of non-photosynthetic spongiform development. This is, after all, a grant application to the National Science Foundation. But, what I will say is that my fellow researchers and I feel that this is important ongoing research in the field of mycology.

That is why we are asking for continued funding in the area of Basidiomycetes growth study with specific focus on buying some Barry White albums and having a few cocktails before we watch the next round of time-lapse videos.

Thank you for your consideration.


Dr. Emmet Brunchler, Ph.D.

P.S. I thought I'd attach a few YouTube videos I found of mushroom time-lapse photography. I mean, whatever. If you're into it, you're into it. If not, it's just fungi.

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  1. Happy anniversary, indeed.

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