Thursday, November 12, 2009
Assisted Living for Plants
Your Grandma or your parents may be in an assisted living residence, now scientists are working to assist plants in finding new homes as the planet continues to heat. Global warming will continue to dislocate whole communities of plants as higher temperatures make their present environment inhospitable to their gene pools which evolved in a cooler time. Scientists at The Chicago Botanic Garden are making a valiant effort collecting seeds from different populations of prairie species with the intent to preserve the species and possibly even assist the movement of communities of species to more suitable environments. Historically, plant species were able to make pilgrimages even across large distances in the event of climate changes, but only because those changes happened at a very slow rate. The current human-induced forcing of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is happening at an unprecedented rate, the effects of which many plant species may be unable to outrun. The effort to help plant species migrate in the face of climate change is not without debate; some scientists fear the unintended release of invasive plant species, which take over new habitats, reducing native biodiversity in their wake. Read the whole article here.