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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the major characteristics of the plant kingdom
  • Discuss the challenges to plant life on land
  • Describe the adaptations that allowed plants to colonize land

Plants are a large and varied group of organisms. There are close to 300,000 species of catalogued plants. A.D. Chapman (2009) Numbers of Living Species in Australia and the World . 2nd edition. A Report for the Australian Biological Resources Study. Australian Biodiversity Information Services, Toowoomba, Australia. Available online at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/other/species-numbers/2009/04-03-groups-plants.html. Of these, about 260,000 are plants that produce seeds. Mosses, ferns, conifers, and flowering plants are all members of the plant kingdom. The plant kingdom contains mostly photosynthetic organisms; a few parasitic forms have lost the ability to photosynthesize. The process of photosynthesis uses chlorophyll, which is located in organelles called chloroplasts. Plants possess cell walls containing cellulose. Most plants reproduce sexually, but they also have diverse methods of asexual reproduction. Plants exhibit indeterminate growth, meaning they do not have a final body form, but continue to grow body mass until they die.

Plant adaptations to life on land

As organisms adapt to life on land, they have to contend with several challenges in the terrestrial environment. Water has been described as “the stuff of life.” The cell’s interior—the medium in which most small molecules dissolve and diffuse, and in which the majority of the chemical reactions of metabolism take place—is a watery soup. Desiccation, or drying out, is a constant danger for an organism exposed to air. Even when parts of a plant are close to a source of water, their aerial structures are likely to dry out. Water provides buoyancy to organisms that live in aquatic habitats. On land, plants need to develop structural support in air—a medium that does not give the same lift. Additionally, the male gametes must reach the female gametes using new strategies because swimming is no longer possible. Finally, both gametes and zygotes must be protected from drying out. The successful land plants evolved strategies to deal with all of these challenges, although not all adaptations appeared at once. Some species did not move far from an aquatic environment, whereas others left the water and went on to conquer the driest environments on Earth.

To balance these survival challenges, life on land offers several advantages. First, sunlight is abundant. On land, the spectral quality of light absorbed by the photosynthetic pigment, chlorophyll, is not filtered out by water or competing photosynthetic species in the water column above. Second, carbon dioxide is more readily available because its concentration is higher in air than in water. Additionally, land plants evolved before land animals; therefore, until dry land was colonized by animals, no predators threatened the well-being of plants. This situation changed as animals emerged from the water and found abundant sources of nutrients in the established flora. In turn, plants evolved strategies to deter predation: from spines and thorns to toxic chemicals.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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Source:  OpenStax, Natural history supplemental. OpenStax CNX. Aug 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11695/1.1
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