Adaptation to Land

Adaptation to Land - Major Aspects of Plant Adaptations to...

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Major Aspects of Plant Adaptations to Terrestrial Environments (much variation in the theme – emphasizing Angiosperms) There are many parallels between plants and animals in their attempt to adapt to life on land. Some of the major issues that each group had to be overcome were resistance to gravity, finding food, protection from desiccation, and the escape from water to reproduce. Unlike animals, plant cells retain a high degree of totipotency , i.e., the ability to differentiate into many other types of plant cells. This is particularly true of parenchyma cells . In adapting to life on land, plants had to overcome their inability to move about like animals to obtain water, nutrients, and minerals. Even though most species are autotrophic (vs their heterotrophic analogs), they had to adapt a way to harvest sunlight and obtain carbon dioxide on land. Also, one of the reasons often given for the movement to land in the first place is to mine the minerals and nutrients in the soils. If one looks at the general plan of growth for most terrestrial plants, it is obvious they have optimized growth to provide as much surface area as possible. This can most easily be seen in the production of leaves, the extensive branching of roots, and the production of root hairs. The uptake of water is a major problem for terrestrial plants. Water uptake is via the roots and associated root hairs. Also, fossil evidence suggests that the earliest plants had a symbiotic association with their roots and certain fungal species. These fungi, mycorrhizae , are important for water and mineral uptake by the plant. Without mycorrhizae, plants often become stunted and die. A good example that shows the importance of mycorrhizae is seen in the poaching of native plants. When these plants are “jerked” from the soil without regard for the mycorrhizal association on the roots, the pilfered plants often fail to grow in their new environment. Even though water enters the plant via the root system, the
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Adaptation to Land - Major Aspects of Plant Adaptations to...

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