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ERIC Number: EJ863752
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Mysterious Mycorrhizae? A Field Trip & Classroom Experiment to Demystify the Symbioses Formed between Plants & Fungi
Johnson, Nancy C.; Chaudhary, V. Bala; Hoeksema, Jason D.; Moore, John C.; Pringle, Anne; Umbanhowar, James A.; Wilson, Gail W. T.
American Biology Teacher, v71 n7 p424-429 Sep 2009
Biology curricula cover fungi in units on bacteria, protists, and primitive plants, but fungi are more closely related to animals than to bacteria or plants. Like animals, fungi are heterotrophs and cannot create their own food; but, like plants, fungi have cell walls, and are for the most part immobile. Most species of fungi have a filamentous body with indeterminate growth; individual fungi can grow indefinitely until they are enormous and ancient. Students are surprised to learn that the largest and oldest organisms on Earth are fungi, not whales and trees. Fungi are extremely diverse but much of this biodiversity has yet to be described, as only 5% of an estimated 1.5 million fungal species have names. Teachers can help make the fungal kingdom less mysterious and obscure by conducting classroom activities involving fungi. In this article, the authors describe a series of field and laboratory activities to help teachers introduce students to the symbiotic fungi that are ubiquitous in most roots and soil. The primary objectives of these activities are: (1) Gain an appreciation for the influence of invisible soil organisms on plant growth; (2) Learn about symbioses and their range of outcomes in nature; and (3) Conduct an experiment, collect data over several weeks, analyze data, and learn about a method of scientific inquiry that fungal scientists commonly use. (Contains 2 tables and 4 figures.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive # 110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A