Lucy the truffle-sniffing dog is helping Professor Ulf Büntgen and other researchers learn more about the ecology of truffles, which despite their great value remain enigmatic to scientists.
Via Cambridge University:
"We really don't know much about the life of a truffle," explains Professor Ulf Büntgen who, with PhD student Elisabeth Johnson, hopes to discover how, when and where truffles grow and mature, how their spores are dispersed and by which animals, and how their lifecycle is affected by changing environmental conditions, including climate.
"Truffles are remarkable organisms and interesting ambassadors for our fascinating but fragile soil ecosystems, which are considered one of the last big frontiers in science," says Johnson. "Being able to delve into the mysteries of one of their enigmatic inhabitants is thrilling, especially since they are directly linked to above-ground biodiversity through their partnership with trees – it's a meeting of two worlds."