Can a Fungus Save Plants from Global Warming?
This short video explores how the symbiotic relationship between certain plants and fungi allows these organisms to survive in very hot temperatures.
Just like animals and humans, plants have their own microbiomes, which help the plants stay healthy and provide them with nutrients. Some of these microbiomes include symbiotic fungi that can help certain plants deal with tremendous environmental stress, including heat stress. One of these plant species is a type of grass that lives around the geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. A microscopic fungus called Curvularia protuberata that lives inside the grass helps it survive the extreme temperatures in its environment. Scientists are studying how fungi like this might be used to help alleviate the impacts of climate change on food crops.
This video is part of the series I Contain Multitudes, hosted by science journalist Ed Yong.
adaptation, agriculture, endophyte, heat stress, heat tolerance, obligate mutualism, panic grass, symbiosis
Redman, Regina S., Kathy B. Sheehan, Richard G. Stout, Russell J. Rodriguez, and Joan M. Henson. “Thermotolerance Generated by Plant/Fungal Symbiosis.” Science 298, 5598 (2002): 1581. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/298/5598/1581.
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
AP Biology (2019)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.1, 2.4, 9.5
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-1.A, ERT-2.F, STB-4.F
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Vision and Change (2009)