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The Private Life of Plants Living Together

   1995    Nature
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. Attenborough dives into Australia's Great Barrier Reef and contrasts the nocturnal feeding of coral, on microscopic creatures, with its daytime diet of algae. Some acacias are protected by ants, which will defend their refuge from any predator. Besides accommodation, the guards are rewarded with nectar and, from certain species, protein for their larvae as well. Fungi feed on plants but can also provide essential nutriment to saplings (Mycorrhiza). The connection is never broken throughout a tree's life and a quarter of the sugars and starches produced in its leaves is channelled back to its fungal partners. Meanwhile, fungi that feed on dead wood leave a hollow trunk, which also benefits the tree. Orchids enjoy a similar affiliation. Lichens are the product of a relationship between fungi and a photosynthetic associate, usually algae. They are extremely slow-growing, and a graveyard is the perfect location to discover their exact longevity. Mistletoe is a hemiparasite that obtains its moisture from a host tree, while using own leaves to manufacture food. Its seeds are deposited on another by the mistletoe tyrannulet, following digestion of the fruit. The dodder (Cuscuta) is also parasitic, generally favouring nettles, and siphons its nourishment through periodic 'plugs' along its stem. The rafflesia has no stem or leaves and only emerges from its host in order to bloom — and it produces the largest single flower: one metre across.
Series: The Private Life of Plants

The Ultimate Wave

   2010    Nature
The stunning beauty of an island paradise on a quest to find the perfect wave-riding experience. Nine-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer and a group of friends seek out the best waves breaking on the reef at Tahiti's famed surf site Teahupo'o. As their quest unfolds, the audience is plunged beneath the surface of things, to explore the hidden forces at work shaping ocean waves and the islands that lie in their path. Amidst playful surfing action, we navigate the cosmos and an ocean storm in a search for the source and nature of a wave's energy. Exploring mountainous Tahiti, we are thrust into the turbulent volcanic past of the island and its neighbours and discover the seagoing, wave-riding roots of the islanders themselves -- a culture still rich in the music, dance and lore of the sea. Beneath the ocean, swimming with our surfers, we explore the stunning, fragile beauty of the reef habitat -- a turbulent, wave-shaping interface that envelops the island and nurtures the ocean's multitudes in motion -- fish, dolphins, sharks and whales. When the truly big surf arrives at Teahupo'o, surfing play becomes surfing survival as the riders artfully tackle some of the heaviest surf on the planet -- spectacularly captured for the giant screen in 3D for the first time.
Prehistoric Planet

Prehistoric Planet

2022  Science
The Normans

The Normans

2010  History
The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century

2021  Medicine
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Rise of Empires: Ottoman

2020  History
The Last Dance

The Last Dance

2020  Culture
Capitalism A Love Story

Capitalism A Love Story

2009  Culture