Martin Bidartondo: Fungi and Plants Working Together
This talk Fungi and Plants working together by Martin Bidartondo was given at the Advaya event Secrets of the Forests: Lives Within & Beyond the Trees, with Alan Rayner, Kay Haw & Martin Bidartondo on 5th November. Part of the Re Enchantment Series.
Talk Description: Fungi and Plants working together
We are learning fast about the ancient and intimate links among living plants and fungi. It turns out that most plants do not have roots, they have fungus-roots instead. From the tiny first land plants, to today’s huge forests, fungi have always been crucial facilitators. Their essential networks are underground, so their study has been largely out of sight and out of mind. However, we now know that these widespread fungal-plant interactions control nutrient and carbon cycles in our rapidly changing planet. Come to learn about mutualism, cheating and pollution in the world of fungi and plants.
About the Speaker:
Martin Bidartondo has been a scientist for over 20 years, first at the University of California at Berkeley, and now at Imperial College London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
He is interested in the ecology and evolution of interactions between fungi and plants and works on the ecology and evolution of mycorrhizas, one of the dominant symbioses of terrestrial ecosystems.
The systems that he has studied include arbuscular, ectomycorrhizal, monotropoid and orchid mycorrhizas, and mycorrhiza-like associations of bryophytes. Following his ground-breaking research on the evolutionary ecology of the diverse plants that cheat mycorrhizal mutualisms, his team has investigated: 1) the mycorrhizal ecology of heathlands first revealing the mechanisms of tree invasions and then uncovering nutritional links among vascular plants, fungi and non-vascular plants, 2) the environmental drivers of forest mycorrhizas at large scales, revealing the impacts of nitrogen pollution across European forests in collaboration with ICP Forests, and 3) the ecology and evolution of their newly discovered, yet ancient and globally-widespread, symbioses between lineages of plants and fungi.