Friday, 26 June 2015

WOOD - Wide Web

Anyone who goes online are familiar with ‘www’ or the world-wide web.  How about the other ‘www’?  
Wood-wide web or mycorrhizal network is akin to the internet.  It’s a living organic network that allows the exchange of information between individual plants.  

Images: Wikimedia Commons

What does the wood-wide web do?  
Similar to the world-wide web, flora are allowed to send & receive information as well as nutrients over distances to other members of the web.  This is done via a web of fine threads called mycelium that links roots to different plants.  It’s a superhighway of fungi & all these happens underground!

Images: Wikimedia Commons - Mycelium

Besides sharing nutrients and information, sabotage too occurs.  This happens when there are unwelcomed plants.  Toxic chemicals are spread through the network to keep it away – nature’s version of cybercrime.  Now you know, it’s not just humans who sabotage each other!

What actually happens in the fungal network?  
Fungi gets its food from plants in the form of carbohydrates.  The fungi in turn help plants suck up water as well as provide nutrients via their mycelia.  This network will also boost the host plants' immune systems by triggering the production of defense-related chemicals. 

So, this indicates that plants are interdependent on each other, and NOT surviving by itself by just meeting its basic needs. 

Shared by Azni
Learning Specialist, Petrosains

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