Cooperation and trade are common in the natural world. Based on the cost of production and the constraints presented by the environment, an organism may be more successful by trading for a product than producing it. In this situation the organism may specialize in one product and trade for another. In this SLP we will examine an example of trading partners, mycorrhizal fungi and plants, and compare it to the principles of international trade, an important component of macroeconomics. After you view this tutorial, consider some of the principles it introduced and how they apply to specialization and trade between the symbiotic partners that make up a mycorrhizal association.
In the videos and tutorials you completed for your Case 3 Assignment, you learned about how plants can utilize sunlight to build sugars. Some of these sugars are sent to plant roots for growth and storage. Mycorrhizal fungi live within or surrounding plant roots as a symbiosis. Mycorrhizal fungi cannot make their own food. As fungi, they have the ability to decompose organic (carbon-based) material, but they do not contain chlorophyll and must obtain carbon directly from the environment (like we do!). The fossil record shows mycorrhizal fungi living in association with the earliest plants, bryophytes.
Accessed at http://www.larousse.fr/encyclopedie/divers/h%C3%A9patique/46890
Scientists believe that this symbiosis may have been key to the success of plants on land. Begin your introduction to this symbiosis at the Compost Gardener, and be sure to view their video. Next, proceed to this site maintained by the University of Western Australia, School of Plant Biology: http://mycorrhizas.info/vam.html to complete your research and locate important images for your SLP assignment.
Using the resources provided above, develop a PowerPoint presentation that includes the following:
Compose a brief overview of the structure and function of plant roots. Include definitions and images of these terms: epidermis, exodermis, cortex, endodermis, and root hairs. You can refer to the following resource:
Provide an explanation of the symbiosis between mycorrhizal fungi and plant roots. Include definitions and explanation of the differences between Arbuscular mycorrhiza and Ectomycorrhizal fungi using the following images:
And the websites: http://mycorrhizas.info/vam.html
Discussion of the costs and benefits associated with this trade arrangement using the following resources:
Walder, F., Niemann, H., Natarajan, M., Lehmann, M. F., Boller, T. & Wiemken, A. Mycorrhizal Networks: Common Goods of Plants Shared under Unequal Terms of Trade. Plant Physiology. 2012. 159:789–797. Accessed on August 8, 2014, at http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/159/2/789.full
Now view information by Green Economy about a company that markets this symbiosis. Read more about mycorrhizae and Mycorrhizal Applications, Inc. at their website http://mycorrhizae.com/.
For this SLP assignment you will develop a PowerPoint Presentation that is 17–20 slides in length and addresses the requirements outlined above. Place the text containing the answers to the questions above in the slide area or you may use the notes section of your slide presentation as well if needed. Discuss the processes that are occurring in the images you use to support your answers to the questions above. Be sure your last slide is a references slide that contains the full references to all sources and images cited on your slides in APA format.
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