One of the most brilliant people I ever interacted with in research gave me a great idea that I just want to get down. If I save these in a folder I will forget, so I am going to put it out here in raw format… I still have an exam to write for tomorrow
His brilliant response:
I was SO not thinking that. My attempt to summarize to a second friend:I was aware of observations of a “spike” of fungal spores in sediments dating right after the K-T extinction event (just above the iridium layer, if you have heard of that), but the interpretation that this contributed to the demise of the dinosaurs doesn’t appear to be universally accepted. This is way outside of my area of expertise, but I can think of two problems right away.
Soil Amoebae might be important…from the Casadevall paper:
“The link between interactions with soil amoeboid predators
and mammalian virulence was strengthened by the
demonstration that in vitro passage of avirulent fungal
strains with amoeboid cells increased the virulence of
the fungi for mice (Steenbergen et al., 2003, 2004). Co-incubation of a relatively avirulent C. neoformans strain
with D. discoideum resulted in a significant increase in virulence
as measured by shorter survival time (Steenbergen
et al., 2003). Similarly, passage of an avirulent H. capsulatum
strain in A. castellani resulted in the re-acquisition of
virulence as measured by the ability of this strain to persist
in mouse lungs and to elicit an inflammatory response
(Steenbergen et al., 2004). The mechanism by which passage
in amoeba increases virulence has not been elucidated.
Nonetheless, this phenomenon provides strong
experimental support for the view that fungal interactions
with soil predators can be a mechanism for the emergence
and maintenance of characteristics necessary for animal
virulence without the necessity for regular interactions
with mammalian hosts.”
Argument that reduced sunlight and global temperature after the KT event would have favored favored fungal growth and (selected against?) ectotherms at end of Casadevall paper –> any evidence in any ectothermic lineage of a bottleneck at this time? Examples of insects that go extinct right at the time?