The Fog Shroom
The fog shroom, Mycellium nebula, is a little known species of fungi that, like its name suggests, is native to the british isles. Found mostly in moores and marshes, the species can disperse quite far during automn and winter. But since it cannot survive prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, its population is heavily reduced during summer, where only those individuals in shaded environments can survive. Most people that live in or around its natural habitat have probably already encountered this peculiar fungi at one time or another, altough most of them were not aware of it.
The fog shroom, unlike some of its cousins, does not exhibit the typical physionomy we are used to. And, unlike the mushrooms we pluck from the forest, its mycellium is not spread throughout the soil, but rather, throughout the fog. This soft and delicate web of unicellular threads hangs suspeneded in the water droplets of the air, and travels with its currents. When coming into contact with solid vegetation, like trees or ferns, some part of the web will get tangled on these surfaces, while the rest of the mushroom travels on, weaving its invisible net through the wet air. Once the fog dissipates, most of the mushroom dies, but those parts that have clung on to the shady part of a tree trunk, or the humid underside of some leafy plant, will persist, waiting for the next fog to continue their journey.
Scientists estimate that, with the right weather coniditions, fog shroom mycellium can grow to an astonishing size, sucking nutrients out of the air as it does. The parts that could not find a hiding place from the sun dry up, and their remains fertilize the ground, contributing to an equilibrated repartition of ressources in the habitat. Thus, it has a stablizing effect on the ecosystems it inhabits.
In olden times, the people thought that the strange feeling they sometimes got from the fog where due to ghosts, clinging on to the living and trying to pull them into the bog with them. This unseen force has fed stories about haunted forests, and contributed a lot to ecosystem tranquility by scaring of humans.
Today, due to more and more extreme weather events, the population of fog shrooms has undergone massive changes in size in relatively short periods, going through boom and bust cycles that have been unknown for the species so far. Not only has this become one more factor that decreases ecosystem stability, but researchers fear that the next such event might decimate the populations in some areas for good, which could have an unpredictable effect on the ecosystems they inhabit.
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