Chicago Botanic Garden

Plant Biology

plant biology

Soil ecology is the study of all living components of the soil—worms, mites, spiders, microbes (bacteria, fungi), and plant roots—and how these influence the growth of plants. Research at the Chicago Botanic Garden focuses on mycorrhizae (pronounced my-co-rye-zee), which is a partnership between soil fungi and plant roots found in 95% of all plants. The fungal partner collects water and nutrients from the soil and transfers them to the plant partner in exchange for sugars. Research also focuses on how nutrients are stored and cycled in ecosystems during restoration.