February 7, 2012

The delightful dung cannon.

Well I've posted about a few people who blend science and art, but I like to do it too! So here's a little drawing I did of one of the fastest living things on the planet... the fungus Pilobolus, colloquially known as the "Dung cannon", which shoots its capful of spores at mind-boggling speeds. I drew this as a card submission for the Phylomon project - think Pokemon meets biology/ecology education.

I "drew" my inspiration from two places:
1) Time-lapse photography videos of Pilobolus crystallinus made at Cornell University (like this one here).
2) The PLoS One paper that documented Pilobolus keinii expelling its spores using super high-speed photography (watch this awesome video of it).

According to the authors, the spore-expulsion speeds documented for P. keinii and the 3 other fungi (Ascobolus immersus, Podospora anserina, and Basidiobolus ranarum) are the fastest accelerations (of any kind... bird, cheetah... rocket ship?) known in nature!

1 comment:

  1. You know, I lived with you a whole year and don't think I saw nearly enough of your art.

    Anyway, what an amazing little mushroom!