Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learning Bali Through Surprises

Whether it is on Greenschool campus or elsewhere in Bali, Mother Earth is constantly surprising me with her complex gifts of nature. Each new gift gives me the opportunity to learn more about my ecological surroundings & the life that coexists around me. Today a 3rd grade student presented me with a foam nest on a large leaf. I knew it was an egg sac of some kind, but I was clueless as to who laid it. I had never seen such a thing, it looked like a huge flem ball. I did specie classification in school & everything, but that was in the states... Now, in this tropical environment it is a whole new ballpark of plants & animals. I took it to my fellow scientist Martin & once we had established that it was not something coughed up by my boyfriend we both started researching.. By the end of the day we were happy to announce that the Greenschool is now home to the foam nest and eggs of a foam nesting Golden Tree Frog - most likely a species of Polypedates. For further details follow this link:!
Also, Last week a rare fungus popped up on campus, we were privileged to have a fruiting body of the amazing 'Dictyomorpha indusiata' species on campus. This species of fungus is related closely to the common stinkhorn. It was one of the most attractive fungi we have seen on campus.
The main part of this organism, as with all the fungi, is of course its extensive mycelium, the network of hyphae (feeding tubes) which spread underground through the soil, digesting and breaking down wood and other organic matter. It is a very important saprophytic organism, naturally recycling organic waste and turning it into soil. Many scientists predict that fungi will play an essential role in helping humans to take care of the planet, by breaking down all kinds of waste to form....soil. Paul Stamets has written an excellent book on the subject - 'Mycelium running'. Highly recommended!

Keep your eyes open to the wonders & wildlife around you!

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