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Are plants on track to go it alone ?


Posted on Friday, 31 May, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 3.0 KENPEI


 
With a global decline in pollinators, many plant species will either have to adapt or face extinction.

The issue is of particular importance due to the potential for food shortages if certain types of crops are unable to be pollinated. Some flowering plants could adapt by either evolving a strategy to self-pollinate or to forge tighter bonds with the pollinators that do remain while others that fail on both counts could end up disappearing entirely.

"For (some) plant populations adaptation to pollinator decline could not be possible at all because of the lack of genetic variance," said researcher Pierre-Olivier Cheptou. "We don't know what proportion of flowering plants could indeed adapt to the loss of pollinators."

"The global decline in pollinators - both wild and domesticated - has scientists wondering if plants will adapt or die -- and the fate of a lot of our food hangs in the balance."

  View: Full article |  Source: Discovery News

  Discuss: View comments (10)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Hilander on 30 May, 2013, 21:14
I hope they can with bee's dying off but I doubt many will make the transition.
Comment icon #2 Posted by shaddow134 on 30 May, 2013, 21:19
Well apparently smaller plants may evolve quickest of all but I'm not sure wether this bodes well for plant life or not. Soylent Green anybody.
Comment icon #3 Posted by R4z3rsPar4d0x on 30 May, 2013, 21:38
Comment icon #4 Posted by trancelikestate on 31 May, 2013, 13:06
What will happen is the more evolved plants will die off and be replaced by the less evolved who tend to be more wind pollinated. Grasses and conifers. Also ferns and mosses which propagate by spores will take advantage and fill some of the gaps left by the fruit bearing plants. The plant life of the world will be similar to the early days of life on earth, how this will affect the animal life, including us, well, I have a feeling we'll find out soon enough.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Doug1o29 on 31 May, 2013, 14:15
That's one way to get rid of killer bees. Bees are being poisoned. All we have to do is quit poisoning them. Of course, that's not the whole story: it includes mites and viruses, too. But nicotine-based insecticides are a major part of the problem and banning them MIGHT be enough. We got along fine without nicotine-based insecticides. There's no reason we can't do so again. Native North American bees don't seem to be affected. We still have them as pollinators, but they aren't as effective with crops and they're not honey-producers. Doug
Comment icon #6 Posted by Mikko-kun on 31 May, 2013, 19:15
It's a very basic problem: add something that wasn't there to begin with to farming, dont observe the side-effects well enough, and then the results hit you. It's not so bad if only a smaller part of farmers do it, but the more farmers do it, the bigger the problem. My solution? Encourage farmers to use different methods. Variety in food production, both in the products as with the methods as well, has a better chance of giving enough yield if the unexpected happens, than if most farmers would use the same setup. I've been very much against GMO and artificials but because of t... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 31 May, 2013, 20:00
Yeah, this could result in a significat problem I would pressume, if we do not find a way to stop the decline in pollinators. I have no suggestions off-hand, but I am fairly certain that scientists are working hard on this issue.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sundew on 31 May, 2013, 20:06
The net result would certainly be a less varied food supply, with wind-pollinated grasses (corn, wheat, rice, rye, etcetera) becoming dominant as the price of hand pollinated vegetables and fruits soars, and their availability diminishes.
Comment icon #9 Posted by TxGoblin on 31 May, 2013, 21:36
A big problem with the decline of pollinators is due to the increased use of seed pesticides. Many of these contaminate the adult plant to protect them from insects. At first glance this looks like a good thing but it kills good insects as well as the bad. Ideally this sort of pest control would only attack the harmful insects. That would take the development of viruses or bacteria that are species specific. Hmmm... bioengineering is still frowned upon.
Comment icon #10 Posted by AliveInDeath7 on 1 June, 2013, 2:48
What people have done will inevitably come back to haunt us..
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