THE WORLD
UNDER OUR FEET

The underground houses one of the most diverse, yet vastly neglected, communities on Earth.

Microbial networks of fungi and bacteria power the world’s soil by mediating the earth’s nutrient flow, and sequestering carbon. From tropical rainforests to the arctic tundra, scientists are discovering the ingenuity complexity of these underground ecosystems, and the threats that they face.

Social networks
of plants

Did you know: Organisms, like bacteria, use fungal networks for transport. These microscopic ‘superhighways’ allow microbes to move quickly between different roots.

Fungal networks formed by mycorrhizal fungi
connect plant roots underground.

Fungi & plants trade nutrients underground

Did you know: Fungi can ‘play the market’, and actively move resources to roots willing to pay more. What can humans learn about economics underground?

Play video

Watch fungi & plants trade
nutrients underground.

HIDDEN
BUT NOT HIDING

WHAT ARE THEY DOING THERE IN THE DARK, ANYWAY?

Flows beneath our feet

Did you know: Mycorrhizal fungi can transport nutrients and carbon in different directions, but it is unknown how they coordinate this movement across their networks.

Nutrients and carbon flow through mycorrhizal networks in complex patterns. How does the fungus control the speed and direction of the nutrients as they trade with plant roots?

Network design
shaped by evolution

Did you know: Fungal networks use algorithms shaped by evolution to solve complex problems. Scientists are now exploring the computing potential of fungi.

Fungi are experts at locating and extracting nutrients. What can we learn about fungal network architecture in the design of our own transport, computer, and financial networks?

DARK
BUT NOT INVISIBLE

Kokkoris et al.