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Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

Apply Evolutionary Thinking A variety of structural features of land plants reflect the conflicting demands for conserving water and taking in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Identify at least four fundamental structural adaptations that help resolve this dilemma and explain how each one contributes to a land plant’s survival.

Summary Introduction

To review:

The four fundamental structural adaptations that help in resolving the conflicting demands of terrestrial plants for conserving water and taking in carbon dioxide. Also, each one of the adaptations contributing to a terrestrial plant’s survival are to be explained.

Introduction:

The loss of water from plants and uptake of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis occur through the stomatal opening in most of the terrestrial plants. The stomata opens during the daytime and remains closed at night in normal plants.

Explanation

The gaseous exchange and transpiration occurs through the stomatal openings simultaneously. The more rate of transpiration, the higher would be the gaseous exchange. The higher loss of water through the stomata affects the plant metabolism adversely and thus, in xerophytes especially, there is a need for conserving the water for their survival on land. The uptake of carbon dioxide is crucial for photosynthesis in plants. A variety of plants in xerophytic conditions have undergone several adaptations during evolution to prevent the loss of water while taking in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.

A few of the fundamental structural adaptations for preventing water loss have been described below:

1. Sunken stomata are referred to the stomata that are mainly found in small pits on the leaf surface. These are often less exposed to the drying breezes. Oleander mainly have the sunken stomata present on their leaf surfaces.

2. Leathery leaves are mainly the leaves with relatively thickened cuticle, which helps in preventing the loss of water in the plants through the leaf surfaces. Jojoba is an example of the plants with leathery leaves as its structural adaptation, during evolution.

3. Thick, water-storing cylindrical stem is the structural modification to conserve water by the plants. The stems of certain plants become thick, cylindrical, or flat, and have the capacity to store large water content...

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