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seed paper - Carly Geller 3-D Biological Structures Seed...

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Carly Geller 9/7/10 3-D Biological Structures Seed Dispersal Thank seed dispersal for the variation of plants in our forests, lawns, and gardens. With plants' limited mobility, they rely on abiotic (non-living chemical and physical environmental factors) and biotic vectors (living organisisms) to ensure that their seeds are dispersed away from their parent plant (8). It is incorrect to say that humans are the only ones able to plant a seed. There are various methods in seed dispersal, most of which have nothing to do with gardening gloves or flowerpots. Seeds can be moved away from the parent plant by wind, water, gravity, animals, or force. Without the many methods and strategies of seed dispersion, there would be an extreme lack of plants in our world. One of the most common means of seed dispersal is the wind. For a small lightweight plant, it is easy for the wind to take hold of its seeds. There are three basic types of seeds that are dispersed by the wind; the ‘Pepper-pot’ type, the parachute type, and the winged type (9). The ‘Pepper-pot’ type consists of a flower ovary whose pods get blown open by the wind causing the seeds to become dispersed. The parachute type is used with feathery plants like the dandelion. A gust of wind captures the feathery seeds and disperses the seeds to a new location. The seed will then germinate as long as it lands in a fertile location. Last, the winged type is often used with Sycamore trees whose seeds are commonly known as helicopters. After the two-winged pod separates, the spinning wings of the now single pod are used to disperse the Sycamore seed to a new and far location (5). Though a more indirect means of wind seed dispersal, the Tumbleweed also relies on the wind’s gusts. The wind allows Tumbleweed seeds to disperse in fertile, wet
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areas on the land. Most plants that rely on wind dispersal are weeds and ruderal species or species that are first to germinate in disaster stricken areas. (8). Though a gust of wind seems so unimportant, without it, there would be no dispersion of the small and lightweight plants on our earth. Another useful technique of the removal of seeds from the parent plant is using one of our natural resources, water. The dispersal of seeds through water is also known as hydrochory (8). Obviously, plants that are grown in or under the water have their seeds immediately dispersed from the flow and current of the water. An example is the water lily. The lily floats for a while in the water until it eventually sinks to take root in the bottom of the body of water (4). Other than this simple way of seed dispersal, there are more unique ways of how water is involved. Plants that grow beside the water often have light seeds for floatation or fluffy seeds for buoyancy so that the water can carry the seeds with its current to a new location for germination. For example, coconuts, believe it or not, are the seed of the Palm tree. The convenient location of these trees being situated next to many bodies of water allows the buoyant Palm tree seeds to disperse. After the
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