Mushrooms are having a moment. Biology professors David Hibbett and Javier Tabima say a desire to connect with nature is fueling a trend among young people who enjoy foraging for mushrooms and studying fungi. Hibbett and Tabima discuss the mysticism around mushrooms, why its unique to have two mycologists on a college campus, and the excitement of discovering a particular fungus, basidiobolus, in Massachusetts for the first time.
“People are really interested in mushrooms and other fungi — maybe even a little too interested,” Hibbett says. “There’s a lot of hype around medicinal mushrooms and the use of fungi for bioremediation. A lot of people are just ready to believe that mushrooms are the solution for all of humanity’s problems, so we need more critical thinking.”