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BIOL 1902 (62)

Nov 30.docx

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Department
Biology
Course Code
BIOL 1902
Professor
Michael Runtz

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Until ready for dispersal, plants protect the seeds
o Some use hard, heavily lignified structures, such as CONES
Some have HARD SEED COATS, such as those on ACORNS
These adaptations can be quite beautiful well as effective
Seeds can also be protected CHEMICALLY
Unripe berries are protected with TERPENOIDS (bitter tasting!)
o Aposematic coloration
Milkweed seeds are well protected by the pod, which is full of cardiac glycosides
In plants this process of sending out progeny into the world is called SEED DISPERSAL
o Advantages of seed dispersal
Avoids crowding and competition
Prevents spreading of disease or parasites
Prevents in-breeding
Once mature, the pods open and the seeds are off!
o How are seeds sent off?
Plants in open habitats such as old fields often use the wind
Wind dispersal = anemochory
In order to fly with the wind, seeds must have adaptations
o But no solution is perfect
o Problem: missing the target habitat
o Solution: produce lots of seeds!
Some plants harness the power of animals
Hooks and barbs catch on hair or feathres
o These seeds hitch-hike
Burdocks invented Velcro
Queen Anne’s Lace also uses animal power for seed dispersal
o Also protects seeds from rain
The umbel closes on cloudy days
Other sun-loving plants exploit animals in a very different way
Their seeds travel inside the berry(?)
Plant bribe animals with sweet food
Zoochory using animals for seed dispersal
Seed dispersal also takes place in very different habitats
Maple samaras (keys) are adaptations for dispersal!
Some tree seeds have sails to help them fly Basswood
Yellow Birch, tiny windblown seeds that land on stumps or logs Perched Birch
Some plants at ground level use the wind too Indian Pipe
SPRING EPHEMERALS also use a most ingenious seed dispersal strategy that involves
animals
They pay animals with food
Food called ELAIOSOMES
They pay ants (myrmecochory)
Violet seeds also have ELAIOSOMES

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Description
 Until ready for dispersal, plants protect the seeds o Some use hard, heavily lignified structures, such as CONES  Some have HARD SEED COATS, such as those on ACORNS  These adaptations can be quite beautiful well as effective  Seeds can also be protected CHEMICALLY  Unripe berries are protected with TERPENOIDS (bitter tasting!) o Aposematic coloration  Milkweed seeds are well protected by the pod, which is full of cardiac glycosides  In plants this process of sending out progeny into the world is called SEED DISPERSAL o Advantages of seed dispersal  Avoids crowding and competition  Prevents spreading of disease or parasites  Prevents in-breeding  Once mature, the pods open and the seeds are off! o How are seeds sent off?  Plants in open habitats such as old fields often use the wind  Wind dispersal = anemochory  In order to fly with the wind, seeds must have adaptations o But no solution is perfect o Problem: missing the target habitat o Solution: produce lots of seeds!  Some plants harness the power of animals  Hooks and barbs catch on hair or feathres o These seeds hitch-hike  Burdocks invented Velcro  Queen Anne’s Lace also uses animal power for seed dispersal o Also protects seeds from rain  The umbel closes on cloudy days  Other sun-loving plants exploit animals in a very different way  Their seeds travel inside the berry(?)  Plant bribe animals with sweet food  Zoochory – using animals for
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