What is the evolutionary significance of mycorrhizae

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Mycorrhizae are a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the roots of a plant. The fungus provides the plant with nutrients and water, while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates. This relationship is beneficial to both the fungus and the plant, and has been present in plant life for millions of years. So what is the evolutionary significance of mycorrhizae?

Mycorrhizae have been found in fossilized roots dating back to the Devonian period, over 400 million years ago. This suggests that the relationship between fungi and plants has been around for a very long time. It is believed that this relationship has helped plants to adapt and survive in different environments. The fungus provides the plant with nutrients and water, which can be hard to come by in certain environments. The fungus also helps the plant to absorb more nutrients from the soil, making it more efficient in nutrient uptake.

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Mycorrhizae also help plants to defend themselves against pathogens and other environmental stressors. The fungus helps to protect the plant from disease-causing organisms, and can also help to reduce the effects of drought and other environmental stresses. This can help the plant to survive in harsher conditions, and can help the plant to spread to new areas.

Mycorrhizae can also help plants to compete for resources in an environment. The fungus helps to increase the amount of nutrients and water available to the plant, which can give it an advantage over other plants in the same area. This can help the plant to grow and spread more quickly, and can help it to outcompete other plants.

In conclusion, mycorrhizae have been around for millions of years, and have played an important role in the evolution of plants. They provide plants with nutrients and water, help them to defend themselves against pathogens and environmental stressors, and can help them to compete for resources. Mycorrhizae are an essential part of the plant world, and their evolutionary significance cannot be overstated.

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