When we think of organisms actively searching for resources (foraging) we generally think of things like wolves stalking elk or butterflies finding flowers. Why dont we also think about plants growing roots through the soil? Although they cannot run or fly, plants forage too, for soil nutrients by growing more roots in response to locally high nutrient levels.
One of the most widely accepted explanations of why plants differ in their ability to place roots selectively in patches is known as the "scale-precision tradeoff" theory. Underlying the theory is the idea that large, dominant plants forage over large distances ("foraging scale") but are unable to place their roots precisely ("foraging precision"), while small, subordinate plants are able to coexist with the dominants, in part, because they exhibit greater foraging precision.
In an article in the August 2005 issue of The American Naturalist, Steven Kembel and James Cahill test the validity of this foraging trade-off theory using a data set of more than 100 species, compiled from previously published studies. Consistent with other studies, they found that species vary greatly in the precision with which they forage, with grasses generally less precise foragers than broad-leafed plants. However, the ability to forage precisely in response to nutrient patches is completely unrelated to plant size. Surprisingly, most species grew bigger when soil resources were patchy instead of evenly distributed, regardless of whether they were precise foragers or not. This research opens up new avenues of inquiry about the ecological significance of plant foraging strategies.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
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...
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...
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,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences