As the only direct evidence of past life, fossils provide important information on the interactions between plants and environmental change. After ten years' survey, Professor Zhou Zhekun's group from Kunming Institute of Botany has discovered more than ten well preserved Neogene plant fossil sites in southwestern China which are important to understand past climate and response of plants to the changing climate in this region.
1, 3, 5, 7: This is the micro-morphology of fossil Quercus delavayi complex. 2, 4, 6, 8 Micro-morphology of extant Q. delavayi.
Credit: ©Science China Press
Their recent work, entitled "Evolution of stomatal and trichome density of the Quercus delavayi complex since the late Miocene", was published in CHINESE SCIENCE BULLETIN.2013, Vol 58(21).
Comparing closely related fossils from different geological periods is an efficient method to understand how plants respond to climatic change across a large scale. However, few studies have been carried out due to lack of a continuous fossil record. In their recent study, Prof. Zhou's group investigated detailed micro-morphology of a dominant element in Neogene fossil sites, Quercus delavayi complex (one oak species) to answer this question.
Their results show that Quercus delavayi complex from different periods share similar leaf morphology, but differ with respect to trichome and stomatal densities. The stomatal density of the Q. delavayi complex was the highest during the late Miocene, declined in the late Pliocene, and then increased during the present epoch. These values show an inverse relationship with atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Since the late Miocene, a gradual reduction in trichome base density has occurred in this complex. This trend is the opposite of that of precipitation, indicating that increased trichome density is not an adaptation to dry environments. These results are important to understand the relationship between plant evolution and climatic change which are important to predict the fate of current biodiversity in a changing environment.
This research project was partially supported by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and a 973 grant from Department of Science and Technology of China. Knowledge of the past is crucial to understand the future. The researchers suggest the old subject 'Paleontology' can reveal long term evolution in the past which is hardly seen in 'Neontology' should receive more attention.
See the article: Hu Q, Xing Y W, Hu J J, Huang Y J, Ma H J, Zhou Z K. Evolution of stomatal and trichome density of the Quercus delavayi complex since the late Miocene. Chin Sci Bull, 2013, 58, doi: 10.1007/s11434-013-6005-x
Science China Press Co., Ltd. (SCP) is a scientific journal publishing company of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). For 50 years, SCP takes its mission to present to the world the best achievements by Chinese scientists on various fields of natural sciences researches.
YAN Bei | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy