The Botany Libraries host a robust exhibit program. Online exhibits are designed to enhance Harvard courses as well as illuminate aspects of our department's history.
The Botany Libraries staff also work in conjunction with our faculty and HUH staff members to create a series of in-house exhibits that highlight a wide range of botanically inspired topics. Past exhibits have showcased everything from current research to botanical motifs in early 20th century glassware.
Current Exhibit: Making underground connections: Ectomycorrhizal fungi, truffles, and trees. By Rosanne Healy, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Pfister Lab
Something to ponder: the health and regeneration of the grand old oak trees and majestic pine trees is dependent on the well being of the tiny fungi that associate with their roots. Such small things have a big role to play for an important group of trees!
But the truth is that not only oaks and pines rely on their fungal partners to get them through lean and dry times. An estimated 86% of plant species benefit from (or are even dependent on) fungal root associates that exchange water and nutrients for carbon.
These are the mycorrhizal fungi.
Thanks to ever more ingenious methods of molecular fingerprinting of fungi, and a growing database of sequences for fungi of all kinds, we now know much more about what species are involved in these relationships, their host preferences, how certain species are affected by nitrogen inputs, how they migrate with their hosts and occasionally jump to other hosts, and even some things about their competitive abilities.
The exhibit, on display through September 1st, discusses just what mycorrhizal fungi are and highlights current research by Rosanne and her team comparing the ectomycorrhizal fungi on roots of red oaks in the Arnold Arboretum with those on red oaks in Harvard Forest.
Contact the library with any questions about our in-house or online exhibit programs.