Thursday, November 20, 2008

Plant adaptations

Three weeks ago I learned about how plants interact with the environment and change their growth patterns according to which resources are most limiting. I think it all makes sense, so this is what I learned: Since the effects of global warming have led to a gradual increase in the minimum temperatures, this causes the relative humidity to decrease. This subsequently causes a drop in water availability within the atmosphere or the plant’s environment; specifically the soil becomes less saturated and there is less water present in the air to be taken up by the plant. Essentially this means that water is a limiting factor in terms of plant growth, therefore the plant will allocate its resources so that a larger root system will develop and thus the respiration rate increases. This increased rate of respiration means that the rate of carbon loss is increased and since the net carbon gain is the difference between the photosynthetic rate and the respiration rate, the end result is that the net carbon gain decreases.

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