|Terana caerulea- Mark Bower|
This is Terana caerulea, a cobalt crust fungus which is found world wide. It is usually found under fallen logs and branches in damp hardwood forests, especially ash trees. Crust fungi tend to cling to the surface of their substrate, their fruiting body is against the surface of the substrate rather than on a stalk.
I can't find the criteria used to determine the "Fungus of the Year", but can think of several good reasons for it honor. For one, treating T. caerulea with heat or certain chemicals, produces an antibiotic named cortalcerone that inhibits the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes.
Of more common importance, crust fungi are "white rot fungi", breaking down the dead tree's cell walls. It reduces the starches to simple sugars, proteins to amino acids, and lipids to fatty acids and glycerol. Without these saprophytic servants, you can imagine a world without replenished soil where thick layers of dead logs smothered plant growth. This provides sustenance for worms, beetles millipedes and all the denizens living under dead logs which then feed the next level of predator.
|T. caerulea on a 4" log- Mark Bower|
Congratulations T. caerulea, an honor well deserved.
More discussion is at this Loyola site.