Genetic information from plants and fungi can be dispersed by the wind in the form of seeds and spores.

David Attenborough shows the birdcage plant of California as it rolls in the wind, dispersing seeds as it goes. Other examples are given, such as spores from puffball fungi dispersing in the wind. Earthstar fungi open on the woodland floor in the autumn when drops of rain cause them to explosively erupt spores. These spores are carried in the wind to a wider area to germinate.

This clip is from:
Bitesize Secondary, Darwin
First broadcast:
11 March 2009

While students watch this clip, they could identify how the birdcage plant, the puffball and the earth star fungi use the air to disperse their seeds or spores. The class could research other ways plants and fungi spread their seeds describing the costs and benefits of each method, and why they work for the environment the plant is in. Discuss dispersal in terms of adaptation and relate this to the species’ niche in their ecosystems.