Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plants actively direct their seeds via wind or water towards suitable sites

18.10.2016

Publication by Merel Soons et al. in Functional Ecology

Plants cannot move to find new places to live in, but they can actively direct their seeds to new suitable places for plant development. This 'directed dispersal' had previously been shown only for plants with seeds that are transported by animals.


Terrestrial, shoreline, and aquatic plants have different ways of dispersing their seeds to suitable sites.

Credit: Merel Soons et al.

Researchers have now shown that plants can also actively send their seeds towards suitable sites by way of wind or water. The results from the study, led by Utrecht University biologist Merel Soons, is published Early Online in Functional Ecology on 14 October.

Plants growing under permanently flooded, wet conditions produce large seeds that sink immediately in water. These seeds are transported at the bottom of the pond, stream, or ditch by water flows that take them only to other inundated, wet sites.

In contrast, plants growing at the waterline produce seeds that float for extensive periods of time until they are eventually washed ashore in the waterline. In these ways, plants growing in the reach of water use the transportation capacity of water in very different ways to direct the dispersal of their seeds towards suitable sites. Plants growing on the uplands have seeds that are best dispersed by wind, facilitating their transportation across wet areas to reach other dry sites.

REALLY QUITE SMART

Whereas directed dispersal has been known for animal-dispersed plant species, most plant species are not dispersed by animals but by water or wind. "I wondered: wouldn't it be highly efficient for these species as well, if their seeds were dispersed predominantly towards suitable sites?" says Merel Soons, lead author of the publication.

Together with her research team, she studied a range of wetland plant species growing in the water, on shorelines, and on the permanently dry, upland part. "We were excited to discover that these plants can direct their own seeds via wind or water," says Soons. "It appears that plants are really quite 'smart'."

ANIMAL-DISPERSED SEEDS

Previous studies of animal-dispersed plant species showed that this mode of transportation may be very efficient for plants. Animals may purposely or accidentally pick up seeds and deposit them at another site when they are moving. For example, in earlier studies Soons and colleagues quantified how seeds of wetland plants are ingested by ducks in one pond and excreted after a couple of hours in the next pond visited by the bird on its nocturnal foraging trip. In this way, seeds are transported between wetlands and to new sites that are suitable for the plant species to grow in.

Media Contact

Nieske Vergunst
N.L.Vergunst@uu.nl
+31-624-902-801

http://www.uu.nl 

Nieske Vergunst | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Functional Ecology Plants animals ducks plant species wetland plants

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>