Fungi Basics

Are fungi disappearing?

No, fungi are not disappearing, because every year more are discovered. Plus, thanks to genetic technologies, scientists are learning more about the connections between fungi and their environment. But in some areas, certain types of fungi are disappearing—depending on where you look. For example, the average number of fungal species in the Netherlands has declined significantly— thought to be because of an increase in air pollution. Fungi are more sensitive to air pollution than plants because fungi have no protective covering, whereas the upper parts of plants are protected by cuticles and bark. In addition, while plants extract water from soil using their roots, some fungi absorb water directly from the atmosphere—along with the pollution that may be present in the air. Thus, poor air quality definitely contributes to the decline of fungi.


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