Navigation Links
How did flowering plants evolve to dominate Earth?
Date:12/1/2009

To Charles Darwin it was an 'abominable mystery' and it is a question which has continued to vex evolutionists to this day: when did flowering plants evolve and how did they come to dominate plant life on earth? Today a study in Ecology Letters reveals the evolutionary trigger which led to early flowering plants gaining a major competitive advantage over rival species, leading to their subsequent boom and abundance.

The study, by Dr Tim Brodribb and Dr Taylor Field of the University of Tasmania and University of Tennessee, used plant physiology to reveal how flowering plants, including crops, were able to dominate land by evolving more efficient hydraulics, or 'leaf plumbing', to increase rates of photosynthesis.

"Flowering plants are the most abundant and ecologically successful group of plants on earth," said Brodribb. "One reason for this dominance is the relatively high photosynthetic capacity of their leaves, but when and how this increased photosynthetic capacity evolved has been a mystery."

Using measurements of leaf vein density and a linked hydraulic-photosynthesis model, Brodribb and Field reconstructed the evolution of leaf hydraulic capacity in seed plants. Their results revealed that an evolutionary transformation in the plumbing of angiosperm leaves pushed photosynthetic capacity to new heights.

The reason for the success of this evolutionary step is that under relatively low atmospheric C02 conditions, like those existing at present, water transport efficiency and photosynthetic performance are tightly linked. Therefore adaptations that increase water transport will enhance maximum photosynthesis, exerting substantial evolutionary leverage over competing species.

The evolution of dense leaf venation in flowering plants, around 140-100 million years ago, was an event with profound significance for the continued evolution of flowering plants. This step provided a 'cretaceous productivity stimulus package' which reverberated across the biosphere and led to these plants playing the fundamental role in the biological and atmospheric functions of the earth.

"Without this hydraulic system we predict leaf photosynthesis would be two-fold lower then present," concludes Brodribb. "So it is significant to note that without this evolutionary step land plants would not have the physical capacity to drive the high productivity that underpins modern terrestrial biology and human civilisation."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Benorman@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Flowering plants speed post-surgery recovery
2. Extreme weather postpones the flowering time of plants
3. UT Knoxville professor finds unexpected key to flowering plants diversity
4. Tree of life for flowering plants reveals relationships among major groups
5. UF botanists: Flowering plants evolved very quickly into 5 groups
6. UNH prof. receives nearly $500,000 to research environmentally significant plants
7. Gene mismatch influences success of bone marrow transplants
8. Its a gas: New discovery may lead to heartier, high-yielding plants
9. Lehigh receives grant to reduce cost of carbon capture at coal-fired power plants
10. The benefits of stress ... in plants
11. Plants prefer their kin, but crowd out competition when sharing a pot with strangers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors ... Rising Market Are you interested in the ... revenues for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those ... product and national level. Avoid falling behind ... progress, opportunities and revenues those emerging cancer therapies ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive ... through 2020   --> ... advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control market ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, ... based in West Chester, Ohio ... award winning service staff, based in Austin, ... capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and technical ... Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016 On Thursday, February ... information source for community, health and disaster services, and ... will integrate to enhance care coordination and service delivery ... services they need and to better connect service providers ... San Diego has handled ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... - New FDA action date of July ... of July 22, 2016   --> ... 2016   - Lifitegrast has the potential to ... treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults ... the only product approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Beike Biotechnology, ... various medical institutions attended a ceremony in late 2015 ... personalized cell therapy in 2016. --> ... Clinical Translation Platform for Personalized Cell Therapy" was hosted ... Cell Production Center, both subsidiaries of Beike Biotechnology Co., ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRV ), a ... targeted antiviral therapies, announced today that it will present ... held February 8-9, 2016, at the Waldorf Astoria New ... Healthcare Conference, taking place in New York ... Sapirstein , Chief Executive Officer of ContraVir, will provide ...
Breaking Biology Technology: