What have been around for 400 million years, are essential for normal growth of more than 95 percent of all green plants, live in the soil, and many of which produce tasty treats from the forest? They are mycorrhizal fungi, of course, and most everyone has seen them thousands of times.

Just as plants cannot grow normally without mycorrhizal fungi, the fungi cannot survive without green plants.  Together, the fungus and plant form symbiotic associations on roots called mycorrhizae that benefit both the host trees and the colonizing fungi. Not all fungal species are mycorrhizal, but there are many different species of fungi that form mycorrhizae on herbaceous and woody plants.Tin Mountain Executive Director Dr.Michael Cline has spent many years researching this unique mutualistic symbiosis in relation to forest ecophysiology, and he will delve below the soil surface to provide insight about mycorrhizae physiology, ecology, and function.

Cline studied mycorrhizae in graduate school and has published many research papers on their influence on tree growth. He also worked with an international forest corporation to help develop methods for operationally inoculating seedlings with specific fungal species prior to planting areas that were timber harvested.  Come stick your head in the sand and learn about these remarkable organisms.

Tin Mountain community programs are open to the public and are made possible largely through generous sponsorships from LL Bean and the Evenor Armington Fund. Donations of $5 per family or $3 per person are appreciated. Members are free.