Claire wrote today’s entry:
I was excited to see a photo of an ascomycete – my favorite phylum of fungi! The Ascomycota include molds, morels, truffles, many crop diseases (such as ergot or Claviceps purpurea) and some yeasts (like baker’s yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The array of fascinating microscopic reproductive structures in this phylum of fungi are truly astounding and quite beautiful. If you are interested, I encourage looking into the diversity of these organisms. Ascomycetes are known for their ascospore producing structures, or asci.
Diatrype discoformis is from the Diatrypaceae, a family which includes somewhere between eight and thirteen genera (link suggests 8, Wikipedia lists 13). What you see in this photograph are a number of fruiting bodies that release ascospores–Mr. Buchan notes the pores on the surface of the small discs being the site of spore release. Diatrype disciformis is a saprobe commonly found all year round on dead deciduous trees, usually beech, in the forests of Europe. Thus, its common name is beech barkspot! Sadly, I must say that there isn’t too much information on this particular species, but I am glad to share a little knowledge on the Ascomycetes I gleaned from my fungi class last year at UBC with Mary Berbee. Hopefully, everyone can appreciate the bizarreness of Diatrype disciformis that Stephen Buchan captured and perhaps the fascinating lives of these commonly seen fungi.