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:12/19/2016)... BARCELONA , España y TORONTO , 19 ... fusión con Northern Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de ... ensayos clínicos en varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples ... ... de su clase con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , December 15, 2016 Arvato ... an agreement with NuData Security, an award-winning international ... will enable clients to focus on good customer experience, balancing ... regulation. ... In order to provide a one-stop fraud prevention suite, Arvato ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016  There is much ... doors or starting the engine. Continental will demonstrate the ... Las Vegas . Through the combination of ... and Entry) and biometric elements, the international technology company ... vehicle personalization and authentication. "The integration of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... Frederick, MD (PRWEB) , ... ... ... to the market’s rapid adoption of Limfinity® Cloud, RURO has enhanced the ... for cross-continent user groups, federated login, rapid data searching, and more. In ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... 2017  Brian Mehling, M.D., world-renowned stem cell researcher, ... International (BHI), will be attending the 47th Annual World ... from January 17-20, 2017. This will be Dr. Mehling,s ... theme of this year,s forum is Responsive and Responsible ... address strategies for fostering greater social inclusion and human ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... , ... January 11, 2017 , ... ... make all the difference when navigating the challenges young businesses face. With the ... the extensive expertise and experience of Geoff DiMasi, Founder and Principal of interactive ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... , Jan. 11, 2017 AnaptysBio, ... product candidates focused on unmet medical needs in ... Piscitelli as chief financial officer.  Mr. Piscitelli ... strategy, as well as overseeing the company,s accounting ... are pleased to welcome Dominic to the senior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: