Mushrooms in the Ecosystem

Mushrooms play a big part in the day to day running of the ecosystem, breaking down and decomposing organic matter that would otherwise not be recycled. The decomposition then releases elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the matter. These elements are vital to biological systems.

Fungi also help other plants communicate with each other through what scientists call the ‘wood-wide-web’. The mycelium of fungi (the central part of the organism which is underground) acts as an underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. This underground network allows plants to share nutrients and information or sabotage unwelcome plants by sending toxic chemicals to them. Around 90% of land plants are mutually benefited by fungi. If you want to read more about the web and how plants use it, I got my information from this BBC article-

Where Are the Ants Carrying All Those Leaves? | KQED

Leaf cutter ants also rely on heavily on fungi for food. Though their name suggests they eat the leaves, the ants actually harvest the leaves to grow and feed a fungi that they then eat. The relationship benefits both, as the fungi has access to a steady supply of leaves, and the ants feed on the fungi they create.

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