This is my abstract interpretation of the decomposition of spruce and the interacting systems in a subarctic climate such as Fairbanks, with a focus on the fungi you may find on a piece of decomposing (as well as living) spruce (left to right: lichens, slime mold, and turkey tails). The array of color in the background serves as a reminder of the diversity of the interacting systems, both biotic and abiotic. The plants on this piece represent the living features in an healthy ecosystem, such as the different plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, archaea, and viruses that inhabit that ecosystem. The soil on this piece is in reference to nutrient cycling within a system of decomposition, as well as the soil the wood will ultimately become part of and that many decomposing microbes inhabit. The symmetry and mixture of media serve to show the balance between the biotic/abiotic factors in a healthy subarctic habitat.
I chose this as my project because the there are so many components that go into the decomposition [of wood] that I had previously underestimated. Also, when you typically envision “nature” in Fairbanks, you may think: birch, spruce, squirrels, ravens, fireweed, etc., but the great diversity of microbes within the environment is typically less prominent. I felt it was important to highlight the interactions and results of microbes in a forest system.
I picked these fungi because as I was choosing a log from my wood pile to cut for this project, I saw 2/3 of these fungi on some of the logs. All of the plants in this piece are were found outside of my house.
**After painting this I found out slime molds(middle log) are no longer categorized as fungi, but eukaryotes… so it’s really the interactions of fungi and eukaryotes.