Our world is so amazing..
I learned about this some time ago – not sure how (book/tv/online), but it’s clear and easily retrievable in my mental database -which is saying something. 🙂
If you’re interested in more detailed information, check out the following resources (or just watch the video for a nice overview). Either way, it’s totally worth the quick view..
Adaptive behaviour of plants, including rapid changes in physiology, gene regulation and defence response, can be altered when linked to neighbouring plants by a mycorrhizal network (MN). Mechanisms underlying the behavioural changes include mycorrhizal fungal colonization by the MN or interplant communication via transfer of nutrients, defence signals or allelochemicals. We focus this review on our new findings in ectomycorrhizal ecosystems, and also review recent advances in arbuscular mycorrhizal systems. We have found that the behavioural changes in ectomycorrhizal plants depend on environmental cues, the identity of the plant neighbour and the characteristics of the MN. The hierarchical integration of this phenomenon with other biological networks at broader scales in forest ecosystems, and the consequences we have observed when it is interrupted, indicate that underground ‘tree talk’ is a foundational process in the complex adaptive nature of forest ecosystems.
It’s an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime.
No, we’re not talking about the internet, we’re talking about fungi. While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. That tree in your garden is probably hooked up to a bush several metres away, thanks to mycelia.
The more we learn about these underground networks, the more our ideas about plants have to change. They aren’t just sitting there quietly growing. By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbours by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network. This “wood wide web”, it turns out, even has its own version of cybercrime.
The Hidden Life of Trees
Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.
After learning about the complex life of trees, a walk in the woods will never be the same again.