Biologists estimate that 3.2 million species of fungi may exist on Earth, and of that only around 120,000 are known to science which leaves potentially millions organisms of left to discover, photograph, and document before it’s too late. The majority of undescribed species live in the tropics where mycologists Danny Newman and Roo Vandegrift have traveled extensively to document fungi in regions threatened by climate change and development.
In 2014, the pair traveled to Reserva Los Cedros, one of the last unlogged watersheds on the western slope of the Andes, where they took a few of the samples seen here (additional photos come from discoveries in other parts of Latin America). The reserve has since been declared open for mining by the Ecuadorian government and the habitat that spawned these unusual mushrooms is slated for destruction. “The identification and description of rare or endemic species from the reserve will help demonstrate the value of these habitats and the importance of their conservation,” shares Newman about the project.
As part of a January residency at the University of Oregon, Newman is now working to sequence the DNA of 350 fungi samples found at Reserva Los Cedros and is seeking support from the public to help fund the project at cost. You can see more photos from their discoveries in Ecuador on Mushroom Observer.
London-based illustrator Alexandra Dvornikova animates enchanting moments in darkened woods, where fluorescent fungi flickers in the night and woodland creatures carry candles on their heads. Dvornikova shares more of her storybook images on Instagram and also sells prints through Society6.
Artist and educator Jill Bliss lives on a small island in the Salish Sea, an intricate network of coastal waterways that stretches from British Columbia to the Pacific Northwest. It’s here amongst a vast array of biodiversity that she creates artworks that span illustration, photography, and the temporary arrangement of local plants and mushrooms she refers to as Nature Medleys. Many of her pieces are available as prints and stationery in her online shop and you can follow her adventures around the Salish sea on Instagram.
This stunning timelapse footage from the new Planet Earth II series on BBC One captures a wide variety of unusual fungi as it blooms at night. The clip is from the latest Jungles episode (UK only) and includes a few specimens that were shot for the very first time by Steve Axford whose fungi photography we’ve shared here many times. Unfortunately, watching Planet Earth II anywhere outside the UK legally is almost impossible until early next year, so you’ll have to hang tight for the whole episode.
Japanese artist Yukio Takano (previously) has a knack for recreating the delicate properties of mushrooms with dyed resins illuminated from the inside with hidden LED lights. The electrical components are then hidden inside real driftwood bases that sometimes incorporate a fancy retro “on/off” switch. Takano first exhibited his lights 12 years ago and they now disappear as fast as he creates them. Unfortunately, the pieces are too delicate to ship overseas, so he only produces and sells them locally.
Influenced by a childhood fascination with botanical illustrations and collecting bits of natural ephemera, artist Kate Kato crafts detailed sculptures of the various mushrooms, flowers, and beetles found within the Welsh valley where she currently resides. The sculptures are typically built to accurately reflect the size of their subject, each constructed out of recycled bits of paper that Kato tints with natural dyes.
“For me my work can be very nostalgic, taking me back to my childhood and the curiosity that fueled my creativity,” said Kato in her artist statement. “I like to use recycled paper as it reflects that nostalgia, and gives the sculptures a history and narrative. I like people to be able to see where the materials have come from, as well as what I have turned them into, evoking that childish curiosity we all have somewhere inside!”
Kato’s work will be a part of the upcoming exhibition “Paper” at Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington from October 15th through November 19, 2016. You can purchase Kato’s sculptures either online through her Etsy, or in-person at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery in Leeds, UK. (via Lustik)
It’s been well over a year since we last checked in with Australian photographer Steve Axford (previously here and here) who ventures into forested areas near his home in New South Wales to photograph the unusual forms of fungi, slime molds, and lichens he finds growing there. The permutations in color, shape, and size found in each specimen are a testament to the radical diversity of living creatures found in just a small area.
A handful of the images seen here, namely the “hairy” fungi called Cookeina Tricholoma, were photographed last year on a trip to Xishuangbanna, China and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Axford suspects that some of the species he encounters may be unknown to science and that he may have documented them for the first time. You can see more mushroom goodness on Axford’s Facebook and Flickr pages.