Navigation Links
Stress and trade-offs explain life's diversity: New Smithsonian model
Date:2/16/2010

Plants and people alike face critical choices as they reproduce: to make a few big, well-provisioned seedsor babies--or many small, poorly-provisioned ones. Different species make strikingly different choices, resulting in a great diversity of life forms: Darwin's "endless forms most beautiful.

Helene Muller-Landau, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute argues that these diverse strategies coexist because different levels of stress favor different choices.

"I love to figure out the reasons behind patterns I see in the forest," said Muller-Landau, who, as head of the HSBC Climate Partnership's effort to quantify carbon in forests worldwide, has traveled to forests in China, Malaysia, Ecuador, Panama and beyond. "The mathematical model I've developed explains why different plant species have different size seeds, and may also provide insight into the variation in offspring size and provisioning among animal species."

Coconut palms produce enormous seeds while figs produce tiny seeds. Muller-Landau wasn't happy with the textbook explanation that a tradeoff between competitive ability and seed arrival at a site accounts for this range of seed sizes: "The standard explanation is that big seeds beat out small seeds everywhere that the big seeds arrivebut that just isn't always the case," she explains. "Big seeds don't necessarily do any better than small seeds when conditions are good. Where big seeds really have the advantage is in stressful conditions like shade or drought small seeds often can't make it at all at stressful sites. In contrast, small-seeded species have an advantage at favorable sites, just because they've got more seeds in the game."

"This simple, elegant theory, so well grounded in sound natural history, reminds me of the glory days of Robert MacArthur. It is a considerable advance in our understanding of the contrast between fugitive ("r") and equilibrium ("K") species and how they coexist," said Egbert Leigh, Smithsonian staff scientist.

Muller-Landau will speak in Panama on March 1 at Taking Stock, a conference sponsored by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Center for Tropical Forest Science and Earthwatch as part of the HSBC Climate Partnership. The conference will highlight the role that citizen scientists play in the partnership in gathering vast quantities of tree growth data from more than 30, independent forest dynamics monitoring plots in 25 countries, worldwide---data needed to answer questions about climate change and to address very basic biological questions that are essential to understanding life on earth.

Her "tolerance-fecundity" model, will be presented in the Early Online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of February 15, Financial support from the HSBC Climate Partnership, a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, the University of Minnesota and the U.S. National Science Foundation made this work possible.


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
011-507-6673-8514
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. High sensitivity to stress isnt always bad for children
2. Stress peptide and receptor may have role in diabetes
3. Post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed with magnetism
4. A new method to measure childhood stress
5. Ford and MIT Team Up To Improve Safety by Reducing Driver Stress
6. Studying hair of ancient Peruvians answers questions about stress
7. Seeing family for the holidays? Scientists discover how the stress might kill you
8. The benefits of stress ... in plants
9. New evidence that dark chocolate helps ease emotional stress
10. Prolonged stress sparks ER to release calcium stores and induce cell death in aging-related diseases
11. New method monitors early sign of oxidative stress in cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Stress and trade-offs explain life's diversity: New Smithsonian model
(Date:1/6/2017)... , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic announced today ... Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem that can ... combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and psychological data, ... between the companies, SomaLogic will provide proteomics data ...
(Date:1/3/2017)... , Jan. 3, 2017 Onitor, provider of ... of Onitor Track, an innovative biometric data-driven program designed ... this month at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) ... In the U.S., the World Health Organization (WHO), ... two-thirds of adults who are overweight or obese. WHO ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... 20, 2016   Valencell , the leading ... STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader ... announced today the launch of a new, highly ... that includes ST,s compact SensorTile turnkey ... biometric sensor system. Together, SensorTile and Benchmark deliver ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/16/2017)... Amawalk, NY (PRWEB) , ... January 16, 2017 ... ... for New Jersey laws precedential publication its decision on the appeal filed by ... FDASmart’s lawsuit of breach of contract against DPCL and one of its Dishman ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... ... January 14, 2017 , ... ... providing complete end-to-end genome assemblies to researchers around the globe. Long considered ... obstacle in answering a wide range of scientific questions. The announcement was ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... , ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... products containing an organic compound called fulvic acid that farms, greenhouses and hydroponics ... that grow cannabis are among the fastest growing segments of customers using this ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... , ... January 12, 2017 , ... Each year, Crain’s ... Index – a process that evaluates the patent estate of a company, its impact ... , a biomedical firm leading the way in technologies that transform energy sources such ...
Breaking Biology Technology: