Q:

What are the advantages of fungi?

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Quick Answer

Fungi play an essential role in ecosystems. They are responsible for the decomposition of organic matter; removing and recycling the organic matter on the ground, thus providing nutrients and food for plants, according to the Rainforest Conservation Fund. Additionally, fungi are responsible for nitrogen fixation within the soil.

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Full Answer

Within the biosphere, fungi play an essential role as the primary decomposers and recyclers of nutrients. Fungi are present and play this role in all of Earth's habitats. Without fungi, plants would lose their primary source of nutrients, organic matter recycled by fungi. Fungi also play mutualistic roles with a variety of other types of organisms.

Nitrogen fixation is another important contribution of fungi within ecosystems, according to the journal Science. Nitrogen fixation by fungi has been shown to contribute to the biomass of leaf-cutter ants as part of a symbiotic relationship.

Fungi are known to form mutualistic relationships with cyanobacteria and green algae, thus forming lichens. Similar mutualistic relationships are formed with a variety of different types of insects. The positive contributions of these bacteria and insects show the advantageous roles that fungi play in the biosphere.

While some fungi cause diseases in humans, others significantly and positively impact our ability to survive by recycling nutrients and producing plant food from detritus and soil.

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    How is fungi spread?

    A:

    Fungi spread by forcibly ejecting spores, making their own wind and allowing natural wind and water to spread their spores. Some spores have hair-like parts that help them disperse more easily in water. Some fungi use insects, such as flies, to help them spread their spores.

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    What are the characteristics of fungi?

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    Fungi are eukaryotes. They reproduce by means of spores, and they reproduce both sexually and asexually. They are nonvascular, and they are heterotrophic. Fungi store their food as starch. They have a small nucleus. They digest their food before they ingest it. They are nonmotile. They have cell walls composed of chitin.

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    What are some examples of fungi?

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    Notable fungi include yeast, also known as saccharomyces, penicillium chrysogenum, aspergillus oryzae and fusarium venenatum. Various fungi are used in foods and medicines, in contrast to fungi that serve as pests.

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    What is the size of fungi?

    A:

    Fungi range in size from a single-celled organism, such as yeast, to a 3.5-mile-wide mushroom located in Oregon's Malheur National Forest. This honey mushroom covers more than 2,200 acres of the forest floor and is dubbed "the humongous fungus."

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