"Myco-fluidics": physical modeling of fungal growth and dispersal

Marcus Roper

Mathematics Department, UCLA

Familiar species; humans, mammals, fish, reptiles and plants represent only a razor's edge of the Earth's immense biodiversity. Most of the Earth's multicellular species lie buried in soil, inside of plants, and in the undergrowth, and include millions of unknown species, almost half of which are thought to be fungi. Part of the amazing success of fungi may be the elegant solutions that they have evolved to the problems of dispersal, growth and adaptation and adaptation to changing environments. I will describe how we using both math modeling and experiments to discover some of these solutions. I will focus on (i) how cytoplasmic mixing enables some species to tolerate internal genetic diversity, making them better pathogens and more adaptable, and (ii) how self-organization of these flows into phases of transport and stasis enables cells to function both as transport conduits, and to perform other functions like growth and secretion.

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