The Kid Should See This

Mycorrhizal Fungi: The Roots of Life on Land

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What kind of networks do fungi form underground? How do these networks benefit the plants that we depend on? What can we do to protect both? And why should we?

This May Kindred-Boothby-animated Spun video, written and narrated by biologist and author Merlin Sheldrake, introduces the evolution of the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi and explores its significance in ecosystem dynamics across the planet.

Mycorrhizal Fungi and plants

“Today, more than 90% of all plant species depend on mycorrhizal fungi. Globally, the total length of mycorrhizal mycelium in the top 10 cm of soil is around half the width of our galaxy. The intimate associations between plants and fungi form an ancient life support system that easily qualifies as one of the wonders of the living world.

“In their exchange of energy and nutrients, plants and fungi engage in sophisticated trading strategies; striking compromises and resolving dizzyingly complex tradeoffs. The influence of these quadrillions of microscopic trading decisions spills out over whole continents. Mycorrhizal mycelium is a sticky living seam that holds soil together. Remove the fungi, and the ground washes away. The carbon that floods into the soil through fungal channels supports intricate food webs. About 25% of the planet’s species live underground.”

underground networks
Learn with more videos about mycelium, all kinds of networks, and the soil food web, including:
β€’Β The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other
β€’Β Mycorrhizae: A closer look at how trees β€œtalk” with each other underground
β€’Β How Douglas Fir Trees Shaped The Northwest
β€’ Why is soil one of the most amazing things on Earth?
β€’Β The Soil Food Web, claymation shorts by Maxwell Helmberger

Bonus: Why is biodiversity so important?

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The Secret History of Dirt, a smart soil explainer for all ages

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