Network Organisation of Mycelial Fungi

  • M. Fricker
  • L. Boddy
  • D. Bebber
Part of the The Mycota book series (MYCOTA, volume 8)


Foraging saprotrophic woodland fungi form extensive interconnected mycelial networks that scavenge for scarce resources in a heterogeneous environment. The network architecture continuously adapts to local nutritional or environmental cues, damage or predation, through a combination of growth, branching, fusion or regression. Despite the uniqueness of this pattern of growth and development amongst eukaryotes, there has been relatively little explicit analysis of the structure of the networks formed, their dynamic behaviour and how both impact on their proposed functions. Recently, considerable advances have been made in network analysis using concepts and tools emerging from graph theory and statistical mechanics. These techniques may provide a useful conceptual framework for quantitative analysis of fungal mycelia. In this Chapter, we provide an introduction to some of the theory and terminology used to analyse networks, suitably translated into a mycological context. We then evaluate the utility of standard network measures to describe the dynamics, efficiency, resilience, and adaptation of these mycelial networks at different spatial scales. We also try to set network analysis in context with other approaches to measure and model fungal behaviour, with the expectation that a combination of approaches will be required to understand fungal growth over the enormous range of length scales needed.


Betweenness Centrality Fungal Mycelium Network Organisation Theor Biol Cellular Automaton Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Fricker
    • 1
  • L. Boddy
    • 2
  • D. Bebber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Cardiff School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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