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To survive saprotrophic fungi must be able to capture organic resources discontinuously dispersed in space and time. Some basidiomycetes can only achieve this by production of sexual and asexual spores or sclerotia - categorized as 'resource-unit-restricted', whereas 'non-resource-unit-restricted' basidiomycetes can also spread between organic resources as mycelium. Mycelial distribution and foraging within organic resources and among relatively homogeneously and heterogeneously distributed resources is reviewed. 'Non-resource-unit-restricted' Basidiomycota have evolved different patterns of mycelial spread appropriate to discovery of resources of different sizes and distributions. They show remarkable patterns of reallocation of biomass and mineral nutrients on discovery and colonization of new resources. Network architecture is a significant factor in the acquisition and distribution of nutrients, and in survival when parts of the network are destroyed. The costs and benefits of different architectures to large mycelial networks are considered. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


British Mycological Society Symposia Series

Publication Date





3 - 18