Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pollination Habits of Endangered Rice Revealed to Help Preservation

17.07.2008
A type of wild rice that only grows in a small stretch of the San Marcos River is likely so rare because it plays the sexual reproduction game poorly, a study led by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin has revealed.

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.

Barbra Rodriguez | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.utexas.edu/opa/
http://www.wildflower.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Machine learning helps predict worldwide plant-conservation priorities
04.12.2018 | Ohio State University

nachricht From the Arctic to the tropics: researchers present a unique database on Earth’s vegetation
20.11.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magic number colloidal clusters

13.12.2018 | Life Sciences

UNLV study unlocks clues to how planets form

13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis

13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>