May 18, 2020
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist
and writer who has written a book about the vast world of fungi
while pursuing a
plant study involving fungi symbiosis.
He shares with listeners
Merlin Sheldrake has studied plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He has his Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama. He was awarded the position of research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute while pursuing his Ph.D.
Merlin has just published the book Entangled Life, which describes how fungi affect our world. He shares many of these effects in this conversation, starting with his own fascination as a child for how natural objects transform. As he studied about decomposers and learned about symbiosis, plant study and research into plant and fungi relationships was a natural direction to pursue.
He explains that fungi exists in
plant roots and spread deep into soil but also live in plant leaves
and stems as endocytes. In fact, there are no plants found
without endocytes. Therefore, he says, fungi are a fundamental part
of planthood, even more than roots and leaves, as fungi existed in
symbiosis with plants even before roots evolved.
He tells listeners more about this relationship, current studies on communication between plants, fungi, and other plants and the necessity of fungi for health soil.