Toby Kiers

Category Environment & Climate: Toby Kiers, professor of Evolutionary Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, researches underground ecosystems. She discovered that fungi under the ground behave according to economic principles. They exchange nutrients with the plant roots with which they enter into symbioses. High biodiversity helps with this, but it is precisely that biodiversity that is under pressure. “Underground ecosystems are in danger of being destroyed. Fungi help limit global warming by helping draw carbon below ground into their networks.” Text continues under the video >>


More knowledge about the significance of fungi plays a major role in achieving the climate goals. With the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), which Kiers founded, she encourages more researchers in local communities worldwide to take samples from underground ecosystems, investigate and understand them. “I think most people understand that the food they eat comes from the ground and is responsible for their health and well-being. But they know much less about how fungi help hold the soil together and move nutrients.”

Film maker: Caren Huygelen

This video uses fragments from the documentary The Underground Astronaut about Toby Kiers made by Ammodo Docs. To see the full documentary, go to the website of Ammodo docs or watch the documentary on YouTube.