Simulating Mycelial Networks

Fungal colony formation can be described by three processes - growth, branching & fusion. As simple as that may sound, the myriad interactions between a growing mycelium and its environment, as well as with itself (and other mycelia) turns the establishment of an efficient, dynamic and adaptive network into a complex problem. The apparent self-organisation of the mycelium is achieved by sensitive growing hyphal tips fuelled and guided by local cues. The proposed model aims to present a flexible platform to include the various stages of the fungal life cycle from germination to potential immortality (although neither fruiting nor asexual reproduction is, as of yet, included in the model) and all the before-mentioned processes in the context of the whole colony. Additional inherent features of the model include dynamic heterogeneous environments, passive and active internal transport as well as external diffusion processes. Crucial to the model is the explicit addressing of hyphal fusions or anastomoses at the tip-level. With this approach, it is conceivable to model nutrient allocation, recycling of parts of the mycelium, or even symbioses with other microbial species, such as algae or bacteria. Alongside the model, a suite for analysing the produced data (incl. network analysis) is presented.
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