07 Aug '11, 8am

Fungi Thriving in a Warmer World Suspected in Mass Forest Extinctions

While the scientists acknowledge that many other forces cooperated as drivers of the massive Permian extinctions, Cindy Looy, UC Berkeley assistant professor of integrative biology, and her colleagues - Henk Visscher of the Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Mark Sephton of the Impacts and Astromaterials Research Centre at Imperial College, London - believe that the fossil record demonstrates an aggressive soil-borne fungus contributed a key role in worldwide decline of forests in the Permian period. The researchers caution that "today's changing climate could also lead to increased activity of pathogenic soil microbes that could accelerate the death of trees already stressed by higher temperatures and drought."

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/08/fungi-mass-extinc...

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