After Dark: Wondrous Fungus

Thursday, February 2, 2023 • 6:00–10:00 p.m.

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Adults Only (18+)

Note: Free for members and donors—only a membership card and ID required for entry. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

The fascinating qualities of fungi are manifold and sometimes mind-blowing. Tonight at After Dark, discover some fun facts about the beautiful, diverse, and curious fungus kingdom, which includes mushrooms, yeasts, molds, and more. Hear about fungi that are local to the Bay Area, and find out how you can identify different species. Get up-close views of majestic microscopic fungi, see the surprising ways fungi can be used as art materials, and learn about some of this kingdom’s most exceptional organisms.

Mushroom Dyes
With Mayumi Fujio

6:30–9:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4

In the history of natural dyes, mushroom dyeing is relatively new. Join fiber artist Mayumi Fujio and discover the beautiful, transformative effects that mushroom dyes can have on yarn. Try your hand at the process, experiment with dyes that react to UV light, and immerse yourself in some of Mayumi’s work.

Mayumi Fujio works with natural dye, mushroom dye, and botanical prints on different media. She harvests materials sustainably around the Bay Area.

Fermenting with Koji
With Shared Cultures

6:30–9:30 p.m. Demo
7:00 and 8:00 p.m. Tiny talks
Moore Gallery 4

One of the oldest wild fungi in existence, koji has been used for centuries as the catalyst to ferment important foods in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cultures. Learn more about this fascinating and functional fungus with Eleana Hsu and Kevin Gondo, founders of Shared Cultures. They’ll discuss how they use koji and other traditional fermentation methods to create alternative soy sauces, misos, and marinades—and they’ll give you an up-close look at some of their methods.

Shared Cultures is a small business in San Francisco that specializes in using koji to create modern fermented food products.

Phaff Yeast Culture Collection
With Dr. Kyria Boundy-Mills, Minh Nguyen, Dr. Irnayuli Sitepu, and Dr. Ryoya Tanahashi
6:30–9:30 p.m. Demo
7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Tiny talks
Moore Gallery 4

At the center of the Venn diagram between organisms that make some of our favorite foods possible and organisms that are key to scientific research, there’s yeast. (It’s a narrow overlap!) But how does yeast make the holes in our bread and the bubbles in our beer? Why is it a model organism for research? And why would anyone collect and preserve thousands of yeasts from all over the world? Meet the team from Phaff Yeast Culture Collection at UC Davis—one of the world’s largest public collections of wild yeasts—and find out.

Applied Mycology

6:30–9:30 p.m.
Moore Gallery 4

How can we better understand fungi’s exceptional qualities in order to create ecological solutions? Join Bay Area Applied Mycology (BAAM) to find out how research in applied mycology can improve the environment and human systems. Learn about how to forage for fungi far off the beaten path, plus see a selection of practical field gear. Explore some of the tools BAAM members use to gather data. And experience fungal DNA sequencing in action! 

BAAM is a nonprofit organization using scientific research and fungi to solve environmental problems, build community, and support sustainability across many different fields.

Glowing Mushrooms
With Jill Easterday

7:30 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

There are two ways that mushrooms can glow: some mushrooms produce their own light, while others take light we cannot see and bend it so we can. Tonight, dive into some of the more than 70 species of glowing mushrooms with scientist and educator Jill Easterday.

Jill Easterday is focused on trying to make the world a cleaner and more peaceful place with help from fungi and plants. She is a member of Bay Area Applied Mycology, Mycological Society of San Francisco, and Sonoma County Mycological Association.

Fire-Loving Fungi
With Monika Fischer
8:30 p.m.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

California is a fertile place to study how fungi respond to fire—and researchers here are digging into Pyronema, a genus of “fire-loving” fungi. Hear from fungal biologist Monika Fischer about fungi that thrive after wildfires and the fascinating ways these species are “first-responders” in environmental restoration.

Monika Fischer is passionate about understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate interactions and drive ecological processes. She is currently part of the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.