Fungi and frogs, hydrothermal vents and green buildings
11 April 2012
This week in the Planet Earth Podcast: how fungal infections could threaten our food security as well as the planet's amphibians; work under way to understand the ecosystems around the hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean; and how it's people, not buildings, that use energy.
Fungal infections are a huge threat to the world's amphibians and are thought to already have caused around 200 species to become extinct. But Dutch elm disease and Ireland's potato famine in the 19th century were also caused by fungi and incidences of infection in animals and plants are increasing. If a fungal infection attacks a crop like wheat, the effects could be devastating.
Sue Nelson went to London Zoo's reptile house to meet Trent Garner from the Zoological Society London, and Matthew Fisher from Imperial College London, to hear more about this potentially significant threat to global food security, and what could be done to limit the damage.
Next, if you listened to the Planet Earth Podcast back in January you will have heard about some of the new species recently discovered around hydrothermal vents in the Southern Ocean. This week Richard Hollingham travels to Leeds to meet Clare Woulds, who is studying the sediments collected from around the vents to understand what creatures are living there and who is eating who in this complex deep-sea ecosystem.
Click the play button above to listen now.
A full text transcript is available.
Finally, Sue talks to Dr Katy Janda from the University of Oxford, to find out why we have to think differently about buildings if we are going to reduce carbon emissions. Domestic buildings account for a large proportion of UK fossil-fuel consumption; but is green technology the answer or do we all need to think differently about how we 'use' our homes?
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