Biologists from Leiden University in the Netherlands have compiled a large database of studies conducted by scientists from around the world over the past 120 years about the interaction of plants and fungi. This is written by Phys.org.
Almost all plants have roots that allow them to get nutrients from the soil. On many roots – especially in large trees – mushrooms grow. These relationships, called mycorrhiza, are symbiotic because fungi, like plants, benefit from this. Moreover, such a symbiosis is important for both types of organisms, since they could not have survived without it.
Until now, information on these symbiotic relationships has been scattered across countless scientific publications. The new fungal interaction database, accessible through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the PlutoF biodiversity data management platform, combine all knowledge into a single source and allows scientists to re-understand the importance of plant-soil relationships.
Scientists note that root mushrooms not only help plants get nutrients from the soil – mycorrhiza species and their amount in plant roots can have a big impact on plant life in general. Studies have shown that the types and intensity of mycorrhiza in an ecosystem can have a significant effect on plant biodiversity. Scientists have even concluded that mycorrhizal fungi can affect the amount of carbon that an ecosystem can store in soil.
“This is the oldest symbiotic relationship on the planet. Only in the last two decades have we begun to understand the true importance of mycorrhiza. This new database allows us to see the forest – behind the trees. Combining all existing knowledge will allow us to understand the role of mycorrhizal symbiosis in ecosystems”.
Ecologist Nadia Soudzilovskia
The new database has not yet included all the plants in the world. However, scientists will be able to independently add their research to it, therefore, according to biologists, in the near future it will be able to become the most detailed in the history of observations.