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To balance these survival challenges, life on land offers several advantages. First, sunlight is abundant. Water acts as a filter, altering the spectral quality of light absorbed by the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll. Second, carbon dioxide is more readily available in air than in water, since it diffuses faster in air. Third, land plants evolved before land animals; therefore, until dry land was colonized by animals, no predators threatened plant life. This situation changed as animals emerged from the water and fed on the abundant sources of nutrients in the established flora. In turn, plants developed strategies to deter predation: from spines and thorns to toxic chemicals.

Early land plants, like the early land animals, did not live very far from an abundant source of water and developed survival strategies to combat dryness. One of these strategies is called tolerance. Many mosses, for example, can dry out to a brown and brittle mat, but as soon as rain or a flood makes water available, mosses will absorb it and are restored to their healthy green appearance. Another strategy is to colonize environments with high humidity, where droughts are uncommon. Ferns, which are considered an early lineage of plants, thrive in damp and cool places such as the understory of temperate forests. Later, plants moved away from moist or aquatic environments using resistance to desiccation, rather than tolerance. These plants, like cacti, minimize the loss of water to such an extent they can survive in extremely dry environments.

The most successful adaptation solution was the development of new structures that gave plants the advantage when colonizing new and dry environments. Four major adaptations are found in all terrestrial plants: the alternation of generations, a sporangium in which the spores are formed, a gametangium that produces haploid cells, and apical meristem tissue in roots and shoots. The evolution of a waxy cuticle and a cell wall with lignin also contributed to the success of land plants. These adaptations are noticeably lacking in the closely related green algae—another reason for the debate over their placement in the plant kingdom.

Alternation of generations

Alternation of generations describes a life cycle in which an organism has both haploid and diploid multicellular stages ( [link] ).

 The plant life cycle has haploid and diploid stages. The cycle begins when haploid (1n) spores undergo mitosis to form a multicellular gametophyte. The gametophyte produces gametes, two of which fuse to form a diploid zygote. The diploid (2n) zygote undergoes mitosis to form a multicellular sporophyte. Meiosis of cells in the sporophyte produces 1n spores, completing the cycle.
Alternation of generations between the 1 n gametophyte and 2 n sporophyte is shown. (credit: Peter Coxhead)

Haplontic refers to a lifecycle in which there is a dominant haploid stage, and diplontic refers to a lifecycle in which the diploid is the dominant life stage. Humans are diplontic. Most plants exhibit alternation of generations, which is described as haplodiplodontic: the haploid multicellular form, known as a gametophyte, is followed in the development sequence by a multicellular diploid organism: the sporophyte. The gametophyte gives rise to the gametes (reproductive cells) by mitosis. This can be the most obvious phase of the life cycle of the plant, as in the mosses, or it can occur in a microscopic structure, such as a pollen grain, in the higher plants (a common collective term for the vascular plants). The sporophyte stage is barely noticeable in lower plants (the collective term for the plant groups of mosses, liverworts, and lichens). Towering trees are the diplontic phase in the lifecycles of plants such as sequoias and pines.

Questions & Answers

what is meant by th word photosynthesis
what is biology
stallon Reply
is the study living things
and non living things
what is water circle?
Faith Reply
please i asks whether this biology is for university
Sky Reply
for secondary
Copulation means coming together of male and female in the present of sexual Intercourse.
what are the adaptive features of nervous system
Please what is ovulation
Adusei Reply
What is cell division?
What is copulation?
bhaiya didi Gate mat
bajali ji ka matlab Aur Payal Chaudhary ka matlab
please tell me adaptive features of nervous system
what is a metaborism
Beatrice Reply
this is a specialized part of the cell eg Nucleus
David Reply
what are adaptive features of nervous system
what are the organelles?
Faith Reply
what is reproduction
mana Reply
reproduction is the process by which living organisms give rise to young ones of their own kind
What is evolution
the production of new forms of life over time as documented in the fossil record.
give two parasites where secondary host is water snail?
Kevin Reply
what is treats
Raih Reply
what are the organelles in cell that involves in protein sythenis
Rita Reply
what is a melanin?
Judith Reply
what is telophase
melanin in that black color we posse in our skins
Why do parasites take on a parasitic life?
Asadullah Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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