Introduction to ecosystems
Introduction to ecosystems

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3.1 Unearthing the woodwide web

In nature, most trees form fungal connections. The health of the forest depends on fungus – decaying branches and leaf litter are rich with nutrients, and fungi can ferry these back to living plants.

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Activity 1

Having watched the video note some answers to the following questions.

  • What is the significance of the long strands formed underground by fungi?
  • How do they form partnerships with trees?
  • What do these partnerships look like?
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Answer

Many fungi form long fungal strands. The individual fungus can colonise quite a large area of the forest floor and this serves as a sort of plumbing system allowing it to conduct carbohydrates, nutrients and water.

They form partnerships with trees through mycorrhizae which infect the tips of the tree roots. The trees are then linked into the fungal underground web.

The tree roots 'team up' with the fungus.

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