New Zealand scientists have discovered a stump is a vampire, sucking the juices from the neighboring trees

Walking through the forest, the new Zealand environmentalists Sebastian Lasinger and Martin Bader from the Auckland University of technology have discovered an unusual old stump of a dead tree, which, to their surprise, was very much alive. The researchers found that he lived the strange symbiotic relationship with nearby living trees as a vampire, sucking out their water and nutrients through the root system. Scientists believe that their discovery points to the fact that trees are not only separate living organisms and coexist in the form of a giant living superorganism, which can include several tens or even hundreds of trees.

Discovered the stump once belonged to the tree agathis South, also known as the new Zealand agathis, or Kauri tree.

Kauri tree

These trees are of a coniferous species, able to grow up to 50 meters in height and, according to scientists, are among the oldest representatives of woody species, surviving even the dinosaurs.

What is symbiosis?

That plants can communicate with each other, passing between the nutrients scientists have known for a long time. This is called symbiosis and is found, for example, between trees and mushrooms. The last criss-crossing tree roots, receiving nutrients (carbohydrates, amino acids and other), and themselves in turn, make available for uptake and absorption by plant from the soil a larger amount of water and minerals.

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In addition, scientists know that live trees can also intertwine their root system, which ultimately allows them to better absorb and distribute soil water and nutrients. However, a similar interaction between the living and dead trees, scientists have known little.

Unusual stump-the vampire

New Zealand researchers have discovered a strange tree stump by accident. They drew attention to the fact that it has new growths of woody tissue and juice stands out as the in all living and healthy trees. Scientists were very surprised by his findings. The fact that photosynthesis is a healthy tree needed leaves. Through photosynthesis, trees produce carbohydrates. Without carbohydrates the trees and all the plants will not have enough energy to produce new tissue needed for growth. But the researchers brought the stump showed all the signs of a living tree.

As a stump still alive?

Scientists have studied the stump with the help of scientific instruments and sensors

Deciding to look into the question, scientists first found that the stump of its root system is associated with neighbouring trees through which it receives nutrients and water. Then with the help of special sensors, scientists have found that stump really “breathes”, releasing oxygen, though slightly smaller than its neighbors extent. Making sure that the stump is really healthy, researchers have begun to explore the specificity of the transfer of water and nutrients between the stump and its neighbours.

Studies have shown that the stump and the neighbouring trees consume water at different times of the day. During the day, when live trees are busy with the transport of moisture from the soil to their roots, trunks, branches and leaves, the stump is idle. It does not retain water, which through its roots goes to the roots of other trees. Night live trees cease their activity. Night stump “wakes up”. And begins to “pump” my roots from living trees the water and nutrients that it can not produce due to lack of their own photosynthetic tissue.

See also: does Sleep in the trees at night?

The researchers conclude that a healthy old tree stump serves as a source of a great root system. Through her roots of neighboring trees can get more moisture. Instead of healthy trees to share with the stump of a necessary mineral and organic substances which it cannot itself produce. For trees this exchange, apparently, is very profitable, considering the size of the stump, well how old is he there need nutrients?

At the same time, such cooperation between the trees, the researchers say, can have disadvantages. Because in addition to the transfer of nutrients through the roots can be transmitted and various pathogens.