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The fungus among us

Undeveloped fertile heads of Cordyceps entomorrhiza emerging from body of larva of beetle in the family Cerambycidae
Ian Redding
Getty Images
Undeveloped fertile heads of Cordyceps entomorrhiza emerging from the body of larva of a beetle in the family Cerambycidae.

The HBO television adaptation of the video game The Last of Us takes place after a global pandemic caused by a fungal infection. Which sparked the question: how much should we be afraid of fungal infections in our world today?

This hour, we learn about the real-life fungal infection of ants that inspired the video game, and we discuss the role of fungi in our world. Plus, we talk with a local mushroom farmer and an author who writes fungal fiction.


  • William Beckerson: Post-doctoral research Fellow with the National Science Foundation
  • Patricia Kaishian: Mycologist and visiting assistant professor of biology at Bard College
  • Chris Pacheco: Owner of Seacoast Mushrooms in Mystic, Connecticut
  • Jeff VanderMeer: Author of a number of books, including the Southern Reach Trilogy, which includes Annihilation; he recently co-founded The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group

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Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Lily is the senior producer for The Colin McEnroe Show. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show Next. Lily can be reached at ltyson@ctpublic.org.
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