Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Why Drought Makes Plants Sad

I just saw a talk by Nate McDowell on climate change and the ecosystem. I learned that when the air is dry, leaves close little openings in their outer leaves (stomata, not to be confused with stigmata) to prevent moisture from escaping. During a drought, the stomata stay closed, which causes processes of defense, growth, and the intake of nutrients stagnate. The leaf becomes weak and dehydrated and bark beetles can have their way with the hapless plant.
In this way, drought leads to closed, unhappy plants.


AlegraMarcel said...

That is so interesting. I never knew why, exactly, the droughts caused bark beetle infestations.

Climate change is so far reaching. It can be a very terrifying thing if you know a lot about it. It makes me both pity and envy those who
-don't believe in global warming
-don't believe humans are causing global warming
-don't know wnough to care that we are causing global warming
-don't care enough to change their behavior to slow and eventually reverse global warming

There is an interesting discussion on the management of invasive species here in point reyes... more in my blog on taht soon.

sciencebird said...

I just saw a book in the library about global warming, and how it is false! Really!

Erica said...

Hey that is interesting-- it's nice to link what is observable with your own eyes to an understanding of the mechanism behind that. Thanks for sharing that!