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Trees' Social Networks are Mapped

All trees in the forest are connected to each other through fungal networks, web roots and bacteria and this helps in sending signals between them. Now for the first time, International studies came up with the first global map “mycorrhizal fungi network” to further explore this secretive world. Each tree in a regular database is associated with certain types of microbes. As a result, by using millions of direct observations of trees and their symbiotic associations on the ground, the researchers could build models from the bottom up to visualize these fungal networks for the first time. Besides the defense, fungi also serve as a communication network, connecting even to plants which are far away. Research has also found that younger trees are helped through the network by a larger tree. Without such aid, seedlings in small trees could get stuck in the shade, but when they receive carbon from nearby trees, it helps them get along. As a result, research has also found that AM fungi, more dominant in the tropics, promote fast carbon cycling. The types of fungi that support huge carbon stores in the soil are being lost and are being replaced by the ones that release carbon into the atmosphere. Studies have proved that some trees warn each other about worrisome insects. When one tree becomes infested, it warns others who begin producing anti-insect chemicals, to protect against attack. These signals are sent through the fungal network and bacteria. Also, other researchers have proven that trees transfer carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients back and forth through fungi. There are two groups of mycorrhizal fungi: arbuscular fungi (AM) that penetrate the host's roots, and ectomycorrhizal fungi (EM) which surround the tree's roots without penetrating them. Research says that 60% of these trees are connected to EM fungi, but as temperatures rise, these fungi- and their associated tree species will decline and be replaced by AM fungi. Plants have consciousness, they are also individuals in any sense. But they are interacting and helping one another survive. The fungal network gives us another example of how interconnected all life on earth actually is and how each organism depends on another and in turn is depended upon.

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