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Dear Brothers Green and Nerd Fighter Associates
Mycorrhizal Fungal Networks!
would be a great topic for a crash course or SciShow episode. MFNs is one of
those scientific discoveries that have the potential to drastically change our
society’s understanding of how life works. Crash Course touched on the topic of
mutualistic fungi in Fungi: Death Becomes
Them - Crash Course Biology # 39 and nitrogen fixing bacteria in Nitrogen
& Phosphorus Cycles: Always Recycle! Part 2 - Crash Course Ecology #9,
which is a great start, but only the tip of the iceberg.
Dr. Suzanne Simard from the
University of British Columbia has conducted research that shows that trees are
capable of using these MFNs to share nutrients with one another. This is done
through a process in which older, healthier trees pass down carbon, nitrogen
and water through an interconnected series of fungal mycelium. Ex. A tree that
blocks the sunlight from hitting its offspring would need to find a way to
increase its offspring’s odds of survival. This by its self is an incredible
evolutionary adaptation, but they don’t call them ice bergs for nothing. Trees have even been documented to uses these
Mycorrhizal networks not only sharing
nutrients with their own offspring and species but with entirely different
species as well. Things just keep getting crazier, because every time you think
you’ve found the iceberg, you realize
there is just more tip. (Links in the doobly doo). This symbiotic relationship between trees and
MFNs seems to be dependent on the time of year. EX, a species with a genetic
advantage to collecting more sunlight in the spring will send its surplus
nutrition back into this fungal network to nourish the species that will have a
surplus in the fall. Forests want each
other to grow, and this kind of cooperation can make you rethink everything you
know about Darwinian evolution. Call Jack
to tell him he can selflessly drown, because we’ve hit the iceberg!
This information validates multiple
works of literature, like Emerson’s
ideas on the over-soul in nature, and even the whole concept for the movie Avatar. The only thing that makes me
more uncomfortable than making two James Cameron references back-to-back is admitting
that the hippies are right; living things on this planet are connected, and
acting symbiotically is more beneficial than acting selfishly.
There is a ton of info out there already
links in the doobly doo, but there are still a lot of questions left
unanswered, and frankly I’m struggling to even ask the right questions, much
less find the answers.
trees use this network to share beneficial microbes (in plants they are called
endophiles)? If so, what could that mean?
Could these microbes be used to protect large
regions against bark beetles or help trees adjust to a changing climate?
It’s been recorded that adult trees send a larger
proportion of their nutrients to their offspring how do trees identify their offspring
through this network? Could a parasitic plant mimic a larger plants off spring in
order to benefit form a plant nutrients.
What advantages if any advantages do native
fungi give native plants, as opposed to nonnative plants? Could spreading
native fungi after a fire make it easier for native species to out compete nonnative
species like cheat grass? Dr. John N. Klironomos wrote an article that addressed
the issue but I need a little help understanding it.
So come on guys just do it, this episode would basically wrights its self. And if you are looking for guests for
sci-show talk show Ed Burk is a dendrologist at the University of Montana and would
be a hilarious choice.
Du bably doo
Nature documentary :
Dr. Simards :
Dr. John N. Klironomos:
Dr. Michael F. Allen