Successful spore dispersal is a crucial part of the fungi life cycle, and many species achieve this using sporocarps which extend above the forest floor. The shape of sporocarps is known to affect dispersal success, but the local abiotic factors driving their morphology is understudied. In this study we examined the plasticity of sporocarp morphology and its effects on spore dispersal in the Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus). C. formosus that developed in sheltered microhabitats (n = 79), were measured to have significantly taller (P = 0.01) stipes and larger caps (P < 0.01) for a given stipe width compared to those developing in open microhabitats (n = 97). We were unable to detect increased dispersal success of C. formosus in field (n = 10). Longer stipes and larger caps are associated with increased dispersal abilities, while increased stipe thickness is connected to better stability. We suggest that sheltered C. formosus may grow into the open headspace, thus facilitating more effective spore dispersal. C. formosus growing in the open forest floor do not exhibit impeded dispersal and are thus shorter and smaller. Taken together, it is unlikely that there is a trade-off between morphologies that improve long distance dispersal or sporocarp stability.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2