Scientists have mapped the underground network of fungi that provide trees with nutrients. Research has shown that beneath every forest and wood there is a complex underground web of roots, fungi and bacteria helping to connect trees and plants to one another. This subterranean social network, nearly 500 million years old, has become known as the "wood wide web". Now, an international study has produced the first global map of the "mycorrhizal fungi networks" dominating this secretive world. Details appear in Nature journal. Using machine-learning, researchers from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Stanford University in the US used the database of the Global Forest Initiative, which covers 1.2 million forest tree plots with 28,000 species, from more than 70 countries. Other stories you might like: Pollution hits fungi that nourish trees UK set to fork out £15bn on ash dieback Ten fascinating facts about fungi Using millions of direct observations of trees and their symbiotic associations on the ground, the researchers could build models from the bottom up to visualise these fungal networks for the first time. Prof Thomas Crowther, one of the authors of the report, told the BBC, "It’s the first time that we’ve […]


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