The Fungi, Third Edition, offers a comprehensive and thoroughly integrated treatment of the biology of the fungi. This modern synthesis highlights the scientific foundations that continue to inform mycologists today, as well as recent breakthroughs and the formidable challenges in current research. The Fungi combines a wide scope with the depth of inquiry and clarity offered by three leading fungal biologists. The book describes the astonishing diversity of the fungi, their complex life cycles, and intriguing mechanisms of spore release. The distinctive cell biology of the fungi is linked to their development as well as their metabolism and physiology. One of the great advances in mycology in recent decades is the recognition of the vital importance of fungi in the natural environment. Plants are supported by mycorrhizal symbioses with fungi, are attacked by other fungi that cause plant diseases, and are the major decomposers of their dead tissues. Fungi also engage in supportive and harmful interactions with animals, including humans. They are major players in global nutrient cycles.