Interaction with insects accelerates plant development

About the episode

Depending on the type of soil, plants can adapt themselves so that they are optimally tuned specifically to that soil to receive as many nutrients as possible.

This ensures that one type of plant can look a little different in a different location and can also function a little differently. Ultimately, this could create an entirely new species.

Knowledge about how plants undergo these changes is also interesting for agriculture. So the Swiss scientists conducted a two-year experiment, growing about 800 plants over 10 generations in different types of soil.

They wondered whether it mattered whether plants depended on bumblebees or humans for pollination. and whether the presence of aphids affects how plants can adapt.

What they saw was that plants that interacted with bumblebees and had to defend themselves against aphids were better adapted to different soil types.

The lack of these interactions with other organisms, because we choose a different approach, or because insect populations are declining, has an impact on the ability of these plants to adapt. This is important knowledge for the future.

Read more about the research here: Interaction with insects accelerates plant development

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Megan Vasquez

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