The first study of breeding habits of this endangered, aquatic grass (Zizania texana) found that the pollen of Texas wild-rice can only travel about 30 inches away from a parent plant. If pollen doesn’t land on a receptive female flower within that distance, no seeds will be produced. No seeds means no new plants to replenish a population that faces other survival threats.
“It would be great to introduce more of these plants into the San Marcos River so that we can build up its population, said Flo Oxley, conservation director at the Wildflower Center, and lead author of the study.
“This information will be useful when reintroduction efforts begin, because we now know that lots of new plants must be planted close together in order for seeds to be produced.”
The findings were published in June in The Southwestern Naturalist journal of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, and shared with staff at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for federally listed species conservation. Texas has about 25 percent of the plant biodiversity nationally, including 23 endangered and five threatened plant species.
Texas wild-rice prefers the clean, clear water of the San Marcos River and is not found anywhere else. The plant spends most of its life submerged, emerging only to flower. Recreation on the river can stir up sediments that prevent sunlight from reaching the plants, and swimmers, tubers and canoers often submerge the plants’ flowers so they can’t pollinate. This foot traffic isn’t expected to go away soon, and the flow of underground water into springs that feed the river is also decreasing as the Central Texas population expands and drinking water needs increase.
“Nobody intends to shut down access to the river because of these plants” Oxley said, “and I’ve been surprised at how respectful of the plant people are when they learn that it is an endangered species that grows only in the San Marcos River and nowhere else in the world. Texans are very proud and protective of their natural history, and I believe they will take care of Texas wild-rice if we just let them know about it.”
It doesn’t hurt, she added, that Texas wild-rice serves as home for tiny invertebrates that have nasty feeding habits.
“People who swim through Texas wild-rice risk picking up these aquatic hitchhikers and may end up with itchy behinds for their efforts,” she said.
Texas wild-rice is a food source and home for endangered fish called fountain darters, and is a cousin to several rice species cultivated for food purposes. But it is among more than 200 plant species of concern in Texas whose fundamental value isn’t understood because so little information has been available to guide conservation or other decisions.
“We don’t know what overall purpose this plant serves in the ecosystem, and we don’t know what’s going to happen if this plant goes away," Oxley said.
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences