Friday, September 15, 2017

Dr Suzanne Simard's how trees talk to each other

Two links with a talk and an interview with Dr Suzanne Simard supplied by Deborah Faeyrglenn  about Tress and their ways of communicating with each other.

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TED TALK

"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, 

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Interview with Yale Environment 360 and Dr Suzanne Simard

Exploring How and Why Trees ‘Talk’ to Each Other

Ecologist Suzanne Simard has shown how trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and aid neighboring plants. Now she’s warning that threats like clear-cutting and climate change could disrupt these critical networks.


Two decades ago, while researching her doctoral thesis, ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil — in other words, she found, they “talk” to each other. Since then, Simard, now at the University of British Columbia, has pioneered further research into how trees converse, including how these fungal filigrees help trees send warning signals about environmental change, search for kin, and transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die.

Beiler et al 2010
A diagram of a fungal network that links a group of trees, showing the presence of highly connected “mother trees.”

By using phrases like “forest wisdom” and “mother trees” when she speaks about this elaborate system, which she compares to neural networks in human brains,
Simard’s work has helped change how scientists define interactions between plants. “A forest is a cooperative system,” she said in an interview with Yale Environment 360. “To me, using the language of ‘communication’ made more sense because we were looking at not just resource transfers, but things like defense signaling and kin recognition signaling. We as human beings can relate to this better. If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more. If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes.”
Simard is now focused on understanding how these vital communication networks could be disrupted by environmental threats, such as climate change, pine beetle infestations, and logging. “These networks will go on,” she said. “Whether they’re beneficial to native plant species, or exotics, or invader weeds and so on, that remains to be seen.”

Read full interview

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