The future of most fungi hangsquite literallyin
the air. Although we can't see them with the naked eye, the
atmosphere around us is filled with microscopic fungal spores.
Spores are tiny fungal fragments, either single cells or cell
clusters. Spores can be produced sexually, when two neighbouring
hyphae mate and produce a fruitbody, or asexually, by breaking
off from an individual parent hypha.
The only reason mushrooms exist at all (apart from providing
us with gastronomic delights!) is to manufacture and disperse
spores from their gills or equivalent structures.
Fungi have evolved some remarkableeven startlingways
of making sure their spores disperse to new locations where
they will germinate and grow into new colonies. Most spores
ride the wind, some swim, and others hitch a ride on insects
or other animals (even humans). Some are quite explosive!