Ten Years discussed on BBC World Service


The soil and these funky can connect we can string in a big mesh can string plant roots together so plants plugging into to a big network in some types and the type that i've been studying they grow actually into the root and into the cells so it's it's a close relationship this intimate underground relationship helps the fungi to exchange nutrients with the plant and vice versa they would be passing phosphorus nitrogen into the plant and receiving in return sugars from the plant and this is what we returned the woodward said affectionate time but but the common market rizal networks is is a more technical term and that's when you have these multiple plants connected by a given fungus or several given fungi nutrients can pass between plants by these networks also signals signaling compounds can pass via the funky between plants and so this will allow plants to communicate certain things between each other via the fungal networks the worldwide web really captured the imagination of the crowd science team so much so that we've created an animation all about it narrated by our very own money chesterton which you can watch on our website it is a beautiful thing if i do say so myself and here is a sneak peek plugging into the fungal network trees secretly talking trading and waging war on one another plants also use funky to send messages if they're attacks they can release chemical signals through their rates which can the neighbors to raise their defenses head over to the crowd science web page bbcworldservicecom forward slash crowd science to watch the full film you won't regret it now you just heard money talking about plants sending messages to each other but how do they do this these studies have happened where people grow they group broad bean plants connects by fungus or not connected by fungus and then the exposed to bean plants to two pets to airfields and when exposed to asia's plants up regulate and immune a defensive response they produce chemicals which which summon a wasp which eats the and they'll say wait so they have like a bodyguard of wasp it will come in defended yeah this is a whole other relationship here is like pulling the fire brigade but they found the plants that were connected by network before they'd been attacked by the feds would send out these alarm signals and would start defending themselves so does these early warning of attack that seemed to be passing through this network so they can alert other plants to the presence of potentially attack is exactly and who's alerting here's what we don't we don't know what the class deliberately alerting whether the fungus is deliberately alerting we don't know whether they're they're receiving planted like wiretapping where the agency is but the result is that clients receive an early warning of attack how did the broad bean plants summoned wasps they release a volatile components the air the detracts the wasps and then what does the worst gal is it because the what can eat the food yeah yeah it's like a dinner bell exactly exactly so it depends on it because it needs to specific types of insect to eat and the benefits because it's getting defended merlin says that the discovery of these subterranean fungal networks has completely changed the way we think about plans if you look at a group of plants or forest is not just a collection of individual plants that are growing next to each other these plants are engaged in the big tangled sharing networked underground relationship i was thinking to the bit like if you were an extraterrestrial ethnography be studying humans for very long time and you've been observing them anthropologists does and you only just discovered that we had something called the internet and you think oh what have i been doing for the last ten years this will change stage and so it's a bit like this i think for contemporary biologists and ecologists who are trying to understand how plants relate to each other merlin sheldrick was in the first program that we made on whether plants can talk but after we broadcast that one we got a bunch of further questions on the topic from you listeners just like this one high crowd science my name is lauren and i'm from bermuda after listening to your program ken plans talk i wanted to know whether plans communicate with each other about sex sex is certainly worth talking about reproducing with a member of the opposite sex can help species to adapt to new environments by creating new combinations of genes but what was it.

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