Skip to main content

The "Wood Wide Web"


All the plants around you are talking to each other. The trees and the shrubs and the flowers are passing information back and forth, with serious life and death consequences. They’re using a giant network of fungi - one so pervasive and powerful that some scientists have started comparing it to the Internet. They’re calling it the "Wood Wide Web".
The so-called Wood Wide Web is made up of what are called |mycorrhizal fungi". There are many different types of mycorrhizal fungi, but generally, these little guys will grow on the roots of plants and provide them with water and nutrients—like nitrogen and phosphorus in exchange for sugars from the plant. While they’re incredibly thin, the threads of the fungi can be up to 1000 times the length of a tree root. This allows the fungi to connect together many different plants.
Once connections are made, the fungi can act almost like the neurones in our brain, transporting signals from plant to plant. And these networks are everywhere. It’s estimated that around 90% of land plants are connected to some kind of mycorrhizal network.
They can help each other out in times of stress. For example, during the fall months, when paper birch trees lose their leaves and can’t produce sugar, Douglas-fir trees may shuttle them nutrients through the fungal network. And in the summer, when paper birch trees have lots of leaves, they send sugars to young Douglas fir saplings growing in their shadows.
Plants can also warn each other of danger. Douglas fir trees connected by a fungal network can alert their ponderosa pine neighbours if they’re attacked by budworms. In response, the neighbouring ponderosa pine trees will produce insect-repelling chemicals - even though they haven’t been directly exposed to the insects themselves.
Mycorrhizal fungi can also enable parental care of among plants. Some adult trees will help out their younger relatives by sending those seedlings more nutrients through the fungal network than
they send to strangers. The adults may even make more room for them in the soil by reducing the number of their own roots.
But not everyone is so generous. Much like our internet, things can sometimes get a little nasty on the Wood Wide Web. Take Black Walnut trees, for example. They can spread poison through the network,
hindering the growth of their neighbours. And the fungi making up the network can be just as tricky.
Mycorrhizal fungi tend to pick favourites. They may share resources with one species of tree, but bleed another species dry without giving anything back in return.
The fungi may also judge a plant's health. If they think it’s too weak or sick, they may not allow it to receive nutrients or danger signals from the network. Now, we’re only beginning to understand
how complex these relationships get. But imagine the possibilities for agriculture and forestry. If we find out certain species share well across the network, maybe we can plant them near each other to yield better harvests or grow healthier forests.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Popular posts from this blog

Find cities with similar climate

This map has been created using The Global environmental stratification. The Global environmental stratification (GEnS), based on statistical clustering of bioclimate data (WorldClim). GEnS, consists of 125 strata, which have been aggregated into 18 global environmental zones (labeled A to R) based on the dendrogram. Interactive map >> Via www.vividmaps.com Related posts: -  Find cities with similar climate 2050 -  How global warming will impact 6000+ cities around the world?

The Appalachian Mountains, the Scottish Highlands, and the Atlas Mounts in Africa were the same mountain range

The Central Pangean Mountains was a prominent mountain ridge in the central part of the supercontinent Pangaea that extends across the continent from northeast to southwest through the Carboniferous , Permian Triassic periods. The mountains were formed due to a collision within the supercontinents Gondwana and Laurussia during the creation of Pangaea. It was comparable to the present Himalayas at its highest peak during the start of the Permian period. It isn’t easy to assume now that once upon a time that the Scottish Highlands, The Appalachian Mountains, the Ouachita Mountain Range, and the Atlas Mountains in northwestern Africa are the same mountains , once connected as the Central Pangean Mountains.

Human Emotions Visualized

Despite significant diversity in the culture around the globe, humanity's DNA is 99.9 percent alike. There are some characteristics more primary and typical to the human experience than our emotions. Of course, the large spectrum of emotions we can feel can be challenging to verbalize. That's where this splendid visualization by the Junto Institute comes in. This visualization is the newest in an ongoing attempt to categorize the full range of emotions logically. Our knowledge has come a long route since William James suggested 4 primary emotions: fear, grief, love, and rage. These kernel emotions yet form much of the basis for current frameworks. The Junto Institute's visualization above classifies 6 basic emotions: fear, anger, sadness, surprise, joy, love More nuanced descriptions begin from these 6 primary emotions, such as jealousy as a subset of anger and awe-struck as a subset of surprise. As a result, there are 102 second-and third-order emotions placed on this emo