A big part of evolution is competition– when there are limited resources to go around, plants and animals have to duke it out for nutrients, mates, and places to live. That means that the flower-covered meadows of China’s Hengduan mountains were an evolutionary mystery– there are dozens of species of closely-related rhododendrons that all live in harmony. To figure out why, scientists spent a summer carefully documenting the flowering patterns of 34 Rhododendron species, and they discovered the reason why the plants were able to coexist: they burst into bloom at different points in the season so they don’t have to compete for pollinators.
Until now, the only way to learn about these traits from herbarium collections has required destroying bits of the precious specimens. But now researchers have developed a fast, nondestructive way of estimating the functional traits of herbarium specimens. The research, offers ecologists a powerful new tool for using biological collections to understand how plant communities change over time, providing insights into how we might best keep ecosystems healthy in the future.
Hidden beneath the delicate, red skin and juicy flesh of a tomato is a wealth of nutrients and genetic makeup. With recent research on the first genome of a species in the tomatillo tribe (part of the tomato family), we now have a better idea of how this vital plant family came to be.
Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape is one of the declared protected areas of the Philippines and is characterized by a variety of habitats. The presence of various microhabitats is reflected in the diversity of flora and fauna found there. However, limited information on its flora and fauna is available and biodiversity studies are scarce up until at present.
In a new paper researchers concluded the eucalypt, currently known as Eucalyptus sp. Cattai, should be formally described, after confusion over whether it was a distinctive new species or a peculiar population resulting from the hybridization of two already described species.
Host-killing by hemiepiphytes is an endemic phenomenon in the tropics. Many fig species—keystone plants in tropical forests—have evolved the hemiepiphytic ecotype. However, the benefits and adaptive strategies of their special life history remain poorly understood.
Over 200 years ago, a Spanish botanist described Artocarpus odoratissimus, a species of fruit-bearing tree found in Borneo and the Philippines. The Iban people, who are indigenous to Borneo, know the tree to have two different varieties, which they call lumok and pingan, distinguished by their fruit size and shape. Despite this knowledge, Western botanists have long considered the tree as a single species, but a genetic analysis confirms the Iban people were right all along.
As a part of the global biodiversity hotspots, the Taita Hills forests, located in Taita Taveta County in southeastern Kenya, forms the northernmost tip of the Eastern Arc Mountains. They are highly fragmented forests embedded in a human settlements and farms on the slopes and hilltops, resulting in the loss of 98% of the original forest cover on those mountains. Despite several botanical explorations and extensive floristic studies in these mountainous areas, there is a clear lack of sufficient literature on the flora and vegetation of the area. Through a joint effort, several field expeditions were carried out between 2015 and 2019, with an effort put to expand geographical coverage to areas where plant collections were previously scarce.
New insights into the evolutionary origins of unique African high mountain botanical diversity.
Despite their obscurity, gametophytes are vital to our understanding of biodiversity and to the successful implementation of conservation strategies.