Monday, June 26, 2017

Trees communicate through their mycorrhizae from Fusion and TED

I have another video to show my students in addition to ones about icebergs and ants.  A friend of mine sent me Fusion's Trees can talk to each other. Seriously.

We know it sounds crazy, but hear us out: trees actually are speaking to each other. Trees use a vast underground network to send each other nutrients, and warn their their neighbors about droughts and disease. Considering they've been around for over 400 million years, is it really that surprising that they’ve figured out a way to communicate?
I plan on showing this video along with the one about farming ants today.  Both of them are about the mutualistic relationships of fungi with other organisms.*

Fusion quotes Suzanne Simard, so I may as well go to the source.  Here she is giving a TED Talk on the subject, How trees talk to each other.

"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 video is pitched at a higher level than the one from Fusion, but it's too long to show to my students today.  Darn.

*Speaking of fungal mutualisms, mow I'm looking for a video about lichen.  If I find a good one, I'll post it.


  1. Those were some fascinating clips. I guess Rush had it wrong in their song "The Trees." I saw this post I thought might interest you. Those are some pretty strange critters.

    1. Thank you, although now I'll have to find "The Trees" on YouTube to listen for why Getty Lee and company were wrong. Also, thanks for the link to the article about pyrosomes. They're showing up in the northern Pacific is normal for an El Nino in the summer, although not in these numbers.