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!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences