A plant trait that affects dispersal distance

26 Jul

http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1193047

Moss spores can travel far–if they get several centimeters up into the turbulent air layer. Researchers find that spore capsules in a moss explode with a specific vortex effect, getting the job done. This is a super cool example linking a physical trait to a behavior that affects dispersal. To complete this example, one needs to link dispersal to fitness, and that could depend on environment, demography, and population genetics. If that’s turns out to be simple, this is a great case.

Mosses are also linked to the topic of the evolution of land plants. This trait could be used to explore balancing selection, since early water-dependent moss that dispersed far could hit dry land. Of course, this would also be true today.

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