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Chapter 29

BIOL 1030 Chapter 29: Chapter 29 Plant Diversity I

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Biological Sciences
BIOL 1030
Scott Kevin

Chapter 29 Plant Diversity I: How Plants Colonized Land Lecture Outline Overview: The Greening of Earth • For the first 3 billion years of Earth’s history, the land was lifeless. • Thin coatings of cyanobacteria existed on land about 1.2 billion years ago. • About 500 million years ago, plants, fungi, and animals joined them. • More than 290,000 species of plants inhabit Earth today. • Most plants live in terrestrial environments, including deserts, grasslands, and forests. • Some species, such as sea grasses, have returned to aquatic habitats. • The presence of plants has enabled other organisms to survive on land. • Plant roots have created habitats for other organisms by stabilizing landscapes. • Plants are the source of oxygen and the ultimate provider of food for land animals. Concept 29.1 Land plants evolved from green algae • Researchers have identified a lineage of green algae called charophyceans as the closest relatives of land plants. • Many key characteristics of land plants also appear in a variety of algal clades. • Plants are multicellular, eukaryotic, photosynthetic autotrophs. • But red, brown, and some green algae also fit this description. • Plants have cell walls made of cellulose. • So do green algae, dinoflagellates, and brown algae. • Plants have chloroplasts with chlorophyll a and b. • So do green algae, euglenids, and a few dinoflagellates. • Land plants share four key features only with the charophyceans. 1. The plasma membranes of land plants and charophyceans possess rosette cellulose-synthesizing complexes that synthesize the cellulose microfibrils of the cell wall. • These complexes contrast with the linear arrays of cellulose-producing proteins in noncharophycean algae. • Also, the cell walls of plants and charophyceans contain a higher percentage of cellulose than the cell walls of noncharophycean algae. 2. A second feature that unites charophyceans and land plants is the presence of peroxisome enzymes to help minimize the loss of organic products as a result of photorespiration. • Peroxisomes of other algae lack these enzymes. 3. In those land plants that have flagellated sperm cells, the structure of the sperm resembles the sperm of charophyceans. 4. Finally, certain details of cell division are common only to land plants and the most complex charophycean algae. • These include the formation of a phragmoplast, an alignment of cytoskeletal elements and Golgi-derived vesicles, during the synthesis of new cross-walls during cytokinesis. • Over the past decade, researchers involved in an international initiative called “Deep Green” have conducted a large-scale study of the major transitions in plant evolution. • These researchers have analyzed genes from a wide range of plant and algal species. • Comparisons of nuclear and chloroplast genes support the hypothesis that the charophyceans are the closest living relatives of land plants. • Many charophycean algae inhabit shallow waters at the edges of ponds and lakes, where they experience occasional drying. • In such environments, natural selection favors individuals that can survive periods when they are not submerged in water. • A layer of a durable polymer called sporopollenin prevents exposed charophycean zygotes from drying out until they are in water again. • This chemical adaptation may have been the precursor to the tough sporopollenin walls that encase plant spores. • The accumulation of such traits by at least one population of ancestral charophyceans enabled their descendents—the first land plants—to live permanently above the waterline. • The evolutionary novelties of the first land plants opened an expanse of terrestrial habitat previously occupied only by films of bacteria. • The new frontier was spacious. • The bright sunlight was unfiltered by water and plankton. • The atmosphere had an abundance of carbon dioxide. • The soil was rich in mineral nutrients. • At least at first, there were relatively few herbivores or pathogens. Concept 29.2 Land plants possess a set of derived terrestrial adaptations • A number of adaptations evolved in plants that allowed them to survive and reproduce on land. • What exactly is the line that divides land plants from algae? • We will adopt the traditional scheme, which equates the kingdom Plantae with embryophytes (plants with embryos). • Some botanists now propose that the plant kingdom should be renamed the kingdom Streptophyta and expanded to include the charophyceans and a few related groups. • Others suggest the kingdom Viridiplantae, which includes chlorophytes as well as plants. • Five key traits appear in nearly all land plants but are absent in the charophyceans. • We infer that these traits evolved as derived traits of land plants. • The five traits are: 1. Apical meristems. 2. Alternation of generations. 3. Multicellular embryo that is dependent on the parent plant. 4. Sporangia that produce walled spores. 5. Gametangia that produce gametes. Apical meristems • In terrestrial habitats, the resources that a photosynthetic organism requires are found in two different places. • Light and carbon dioxide are mainly aboveground. • Water and mineral resources are found mainly in the soil. • Therefore, plants show varying degrees of structural specialization for subterranean and aerial organs—roots and shoots in most plants. • The elongation and branching of the shoots and roots maximize their exposure to environmental resources. • This growth is sustained by apical meristems, localized regions of cell division at the tips of shoots and roots. • Cells produced by meristems differentiate into various tissues, including surface epidermis and internal tissues. Alternation of generations • All land plants show alternation of generations in which two multicellular body forms alternate. • This life cycle also occurs in various algae. • However, alternation of generations does not occur in the charophyceans, the algae most closely related to land plants. • In alternation of generations, one of the multicellular bodies is called the gametophyte and has haploid cells. • Gametophytes produce gametes, egg and sperm, by mitosis. • Fusion of egg and sperm during fertilization form a diploid zygote. • Mitotic division of the diploid zygote produces the other multicellular body, the sporophyte. • Meiosis in a mature sporophyte produces haploid reproductive cells called spores. • A spore is a reproductive cell that can develop into a new organism without fusing with another cell. • Mitotic division of a plant spore produces a new multicellular gametophyte. • Unlike the life cycles of other sexually producing organisms, alternation of generations in land plants (and some algae) results in both haploid and diploid stages that exist as multicellular bodies. • For example, humans do not have alternation of generations because the only haploid stage in the life cycle is the gamete, which is single-celled. Walled spores produced by sporangia • Plant spores are haploid reproductive cells that grow into gametophytes by mitosis. • Sporopollenin makes the walls of spores very tough and resistant to harsh environments. • Multicellular organs called sporangia are found on the sporophyte and produce spores. • Within sporangia, diploid cells called sporocytes undergo meiosis and generate haploid spores. • The outer tissues of the sporangium protect the developing spores until they are ready to be released into the air. Multicellular gametangia • Plant gametophytes produce gametes within multicellular organs called gametangia. • A female gametangium, called an archegonium, produces a single egg cell in a vase-shaped organ. • The egg is retained within the base. • Male gametangia, called antheridia, produce and release sperm into the environment. • In many major groups of living plants, the sperm have flagella and swim to the eggs though a water film. • Each egg is fertilized within an archegonium, where the zygote develops into the embryo. • The gametophytes of seed plants are so reduced in size that archegonia and antheridia have been lost in some lineages. Multicellular, dependent embryos • Multicellular plant embryos develop from zygotes that are retained within tissues of the female parent. • The multicellular, dependent embryo of land plants is such a significant derived trait that land plants are also known as embryophytes. • The parent provides nutrients, such as sugars and amino acids, to the embryo. • The embryo has specialized placental transfer cells that enhance the transfer of nutrients from parent to embryo. • These are sometimes present in the adjacent maternal tissues as well. • This interface is analogous to the nutrient-transferring embryo- mother interface of placental mammals. • Additional derived traits have evolved in many plant species. • The epidermis of many plants has a cuticle consisting of polymers called polyesters and waxes. • The cuticle waterproofs the epidermis, preventing excessive water loss, and offers protection from microbial attack. • Many land plants produce secondary compounds, so named because they are the products of secondary metabolic pathways that branch from primary metabolic pathways. • Alkaloids, terpenes, and tannins defend against herbivores and parasites. • Flavonoids absorb harmful UV radiation and may act as signals in symbiotic relationships with beneficial soil microbes. • Phenolics deter attack by pathogenic microbes. Land plants have diversified since their origin from algal ancestors. • Fossils of plant spores have been extracted from 475-million-year-old rocks in Oman. • These spores were embedded in plant cuticle material that is similar to spore-bearing tissue in living plants. • These fossils clearly belong to plants. • A 2001 study of the “molecular clock” of plants suggests that the common ancestor of living plants existed 700 million years ago. • A 2003 study suggests a new date of 490 to 425 million years, roughly the same age as the spores found in Oman. • Land plants can be informally grouped based on the presence or absence of an extensive system of vascular tissue, cells joined into tubes that transport water and nutrients throughout the plant body. • Plants that do not have an extensive transport system are described as “nonvascular plants,” although some mosses do have simple vascular tissue. • Nonvascular plants are informally called bryophytes. • There is some uncertainty about whether or not bryophytes are monophyletic and represent a clade. • Vascular plants form a clade consisting of 93% of all land plants. • Three smaller clades are found within the vascular plants. • Lycophytes include club mosses and their relatives. • Pterophytes include the ferns and their relatives. • These two clades are called the seedless vascular plants. • A third clade of vascular plants includes the seed plants, the vast majority of living plants. • A seed is an embryo packaged with a supply of nutrients within a protective coat. • Seed plants can be divided into two groups: gymnosperms and angiosperms. • Gymnosperms are called “naked seed plants” because their seeds are not enclosed in chambers. • Angiosperms are a huge clade including all flowering plants. Concept 29.3 The life cycles of mosses and other bryophytes are dominated by the gametophyte stage • Bryophytes are represented by three phyla: • Phylum Hepatophyta—liverworts • Phylum Anthocerophyta—hornworts • Phylum Bryophyta—mosses • Note that the name Bryophyta refers only to one phylum, but the informal term bryophyte refers to all nonvascular plants. • It has not been established whether the diverse bryophytes form a clade. • Systematists continue to debate the sequence in which the three phyla of bryophytes evolved. • Bryophytes acquired many unique adaptations after their evolutionary split from the ancestors of modern vascular plants. • They also possess some ancestral traits characteristic of the earliest plants. • In bryophytes, gametophytes are the largest and most conspicuous phase of the life cycle. • Sporophytes are smaller and are present only part of the time. • Bryophyte spores germinate in favorable habitats and grow into gametophytes by mitosis. • The gametophyte is a mass of green, branched, filaments that are one cell thick, called a protonema. • A protonema has a large surface area that enhances absorption of water and minerals. • In favorable conditions, protonema generate gamete-producing structures, the gametophores. • Bryophytes are anchored by tubular cells or filaments of cells, called rhizoids. • Unlike roots, rhizoids are not composed of tissues, lack specialized conducting cells, and do not play a primary role in water and mineral absorption. • Bryophyte gametophytes
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