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Topics about "plants" include:

  1. Wire plants, moas and elephant birds
    Madagascar and New Zealand were once home to giant herbivorous birds. And the plants have not forgotten...    

  2. Parthenogenesis in Australian lizards and insects
    “Evidence on the origin and spread of the two best-studied cases of parthenogenesis from the Australian arid zone, the grasshopper Warramaba virgo and the gecko Heteronotia binoei, suggests that they evolved in parallel.” – Kearney et al. (2006) Molecular Ecology vol. 15, p.1743

  3. Xylem vessels in vascular plants
    Vessels are characteristic of the angiosperms, and yet they have evolved independently in several other groups, including the lycophyte Selaginella, horse-tail Equisetum and the enigmatic Gnetales.

  4. Torus-margo pits in vascular plant xylem
    Torus-margo pits probably evolved once in the gymnosperms, after the split of more advanced gymnosperms from the cycads. Surprisingly, eight genera from five families of angiosperms, which are characterised by highly effective xylem vessels, have also evolved torus-margo structures.

  5. Carnivorous plants
    All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...

Topics containing the search term "plants" are:

  1. Carnivorous plants
    All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...

  2. Secondary xylem (wood) in vascular plants
    Evolution of wood in plants as distantly related as lignophytes, Calamites and Lepidodendron is an elegant example of convergent evolution. Plants responded in a similar way to a need for better structural support as they diversified and increased in size.

  3. Xylem vessels in vascular plants
    Vessels are characteristic of the angiosperms, and yet they have evolved independently in several other groups, including the lycophyte Selaginella, horse-tail Equisetum and the enigmatic Gnetales.

  4. Malodorous flowering plants
    Several groups of angiosperms have flower structures that produce foul odours to attract pollinating insects. This strategy is convergent, being found in species as distantly related as the 'Titan arum' Amorphophallus titanium (a monocot) and the 'Corpse flower' Rafflesia (a eudicot).

  5. Explosive discharge in fungi and plants
    The very rapid release of reproductive bodies is perhaps most famous in the fungi, where several methods of flinging spores at high velocity have evolved independently.

  6. Desert plants with succulent stems
    Fleshy, succulent stems have evolved in several distantly related desert plant families, including cacti, certain species of Euphorbia and two genera of the family Asclepiadaceae, Hoodia and Stapelia.

  7. Desert plants with succulent leaves
    Perhaps the most striking case of convergence among leaf succulents occurs between Agave and its relatives Yucca and Hesperaloe in the Americas and Aloe and its relatives (e.g. Haworthia and Gasteria) in Africa.

  8. Succulent desert plants
    Classic examples of convergence in desert plants include the so-called 'stem succulent' cacti in the Americas and cactus-like Euphorbia species in Africa and South Asia, and also the striking similarity between 'leaf succulent' Agave and Yucca of the Americas and Aloe and its close relatives in Africa.

  9. Wire plants, moas and elephant birds
    Madagascar and New Zealand were once home to giant herbivorous birds. And the plants have not forgotten...    

  10. Carbonic anhydrase in vertebrates, plants, algae and bacteria
    Carbonic anhydrase is extremely convergent and may have evolved as many as six times. The most familiar variants are α, β and γ carbonic anhydrases.

  11. Cavitation: bubble formation in plants, reptiles and shrimps
    The formation of bubbles in a fluid is known as cavitation. Typically this occurs at low pressures, and is perhaps best known in the xylem of plants where embolisms can be destructive to the surrounding tissues.

  12. Vibrational communication in insects and spiders
    Some spiders have evolved a most remarkable method of capturing other spiders – they imitate the vibrations of insects caught in their victim’s web. And this is only one of numerous intriguing examples of vibrational communication in arthropods…

  13. Foregut fermentation in mammals
    Foregut fermentation is best known from the ruminants, such as cattle, deer and giraffes, that regurgitate and rechew their food to aid microbial digestion. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved this digestive strategy...

  14. Foregut fermentation in birds
    A foregut-fermenting bird was long considered a paradox. But what about the hoatzin, a curious South American bird known locally as the "stinking pheasant" thanks to its smell of fresh cow manure?

  15. Agriculture in marine polychaete annelids
    Some polychaetes attach pieces of algae to their dwelling tube. Just for decoration? No, but for a much more substantial (and convergent) benefit...

  16. Agriculture in dugongs
    When you think of grazing mammals, you might envisage large herds of antelopes roaming African savannahs. Did you know that there is an equivalent in the ocean, feeding on seagrass?

  17. Agriculture in gall midges (Diptera)
    Flies, fungi, farming - sounds interesting? Read on if you want to learn about some rather different gall midges...

  18. Agriculture in aquatic snails
    Termites and ants are famous for tending fungal gardens, but did you know that also a marine snail farms a fungus? And this is not the only example of agriculture in this group…

  19. Torus-margo pits in vascular plant xylem
    Torus-margo pits probably evolved once in the gymnosperms, after the split of more advanced gymnosperms from the cycads. Surprisingly, eight genera from five families of angiosperms, which are characterised by highly effective xylem vessels, have also evolved torus-margo structures.

  20. Reversion from xylem vessels to tracheids
    In three plant taxa that evolved in environments with frequent freeze-thaw cycles (Winteraceae, Trochodendraceae and cold desert Ephedra), vessel evolution has been reversed independently in favour of a return to a tracheid-based vascular system.

  21. Foam nests in animals
    Nests crop up everywhere, but one made out of foam? Might not sound like a great idea, but it is. And no surprise, it has evolved several times...

  22. Mitochondrial genome convergences
    Most likely, mitochondria have a single evolutionary origin, but that doesn't mean they are immune to convergence...

  23. Mimicry in fungi
    Insects pollinating flowers are a familiar sight. But what happens when the "flower" is actually a fungus? Still "pollination", but now it is fungal spores. Read on to learn more about the fungi that mimic flowers...

  24. Autumn leaf colouration
    Autumn colours are likely to be adaptive, as the 'default' is simply to remain green up to leaf fall, and both red and yellow leaf colouration have evolved independently on many occasions in gymnosperms and woody angiosperms.

  25. Mushrooms and their relatives (Basidiomycota)
    Mushrooms are not only tasty, but also provide numerous examples of evolutionary convergence...

  26. Dental batteries in ceratopsians, hadrosaurs and elephants
    The dental batteries or 'pavements' of ceratopsians and hadrosaurs evolved independently, and yet the dentition of several more distantly related animals also converges on their highly adapted tooth form.

  27. Reptile dentition: convergence on complex occlusion
    Some reptiles have transverse chisel-like teeth for slicing, and others have teeth bearing projections ('cusps') that interlock and slice or grind tough food. In each case evolutionary parallels are clear both within and outside the reptiles.

  28. Beak structures in reptiles and birds
    Among reptile taxa with beak structures, we find several cases of convergent evolution, for example between turtles, Uromastyx lizards, a number of herbivorous dinosaurs and the tuatara (Sphenodon) of New Zealand.

  29. Crabs: insights into convergence
    You might think of crabs mainly as food, but this group is also highly instructive in terms of convergence…

  30. Carnivorous fungi: a diet of worms (and other animals)
    Fungi have learnt how to trap living prey, notably nematodes but also a range of other animals include rotifers, tardigrades and even springtails.

  31. Ascomycete fungi: insights into convergence
    Today ascomycetes are an extremely important group of fungi, and they take their name from the reproductive structures known as ascii.

  32. Dandruff, Malassezia and Candida
    The presence of Malassezia does not guarantee dandruff, as this fungus is commonly present on healthy skin, but it evidently central to dandruff production if other key factors support it.

  33. Parthenogenesis in Australian lizards and insects
    “Evidence on the origin and spread of the two best-studied cases of parthenogenesis from the Australian arid zone, the grasshopper Warramaba virgo and the gecko Heteronotia binoei, suggests that they evolved in parallel.” – Kearney et al. (2006) Molecular Ecology vol. 15, p.1743

  34. Venom in mammals (and other synapsids)
    Beware the venomous shrew! Yes, venomous. And convergent on some formidable lizards...

  35. Infrared detection in snakes
    Warm-blooded rodents watch out! There are heat-sensing predators on the prowl...

  36. Lipocalins for milk and pheromone transport
    Lipocalins are proteins that bind to and transport small hydrophobic molecules such as lipids and steroids, and have been associated with biological processes such as milk production, pheromone transport and immune responses.

  37. Innate and adaptive immune systems
    A vile cough, soaring temperature? When attacked by nasty microbes, our immune system comes in handy. Surprisingly (or not), plants have come up with a very similar solution to dealing with pathogens, but independently...    

  38. Bacterial carboxysomes (and other microcompartments)
    It is now clear that the cellular construction of at least the eubacteria is more complex than realized, and includes organelle-like structures known as microcompartments, of which the best known are the carboxysomes.

  39. Lysozyme
    Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...

  40. Gut fermentation in herbivorous animals
    Ever tried eating a newspaper? Don't. Plant cell walls contain cellulose, which is notoriously difficult to digest. Considering that all vertebrates lack the enzymes to attack this polysaccharide, how do so many of them manage to survive on a plant diet?

  41. Strepsipterans: convergent halteres and eyes
    Strepsipteran females spend their whole life inside a wasp. The males are rather more exciting, particularly in terms of convergence…

  42. Agriculture: from ants to dugongs
    Human farmers tending their fields are a familiar sight. But don't forget about those fungus-farming termites or the fish with a garden of algae…

  43. Agriculture in ants: leaf-cutters (attines) and non-attines
    In some species, special squads leave the nest early each day, ascend the tree-trunks and then spend hours cutting out pieces of leaf that are dropped to other units on the ground.

  44. Hummingbirds and hummingbirdoid moths
    Like other birds hummingbirds are warm-blooded, but so independently are the hawk-moths, which like a number of insects have evolved thermoregulation.

  45. Developmental genetic pathways to convergence
    At first sight there is a fairly simple dichotomy between convergent features that have effectively the same genetic basis, and those where the same feature emerges but the underlying genetics are different. The former, however, is somewhat more complicated...

  46. Ants: insights into convergence
    Trap-jaws, silk and agriculture – just a few examples of convergence in the arguably most successful group of insects, the ants…

  47. Defence in frogs: toxins and camouflage
    The many striking examples of convergence most famously include the case of mimicry, but the question of defence also extends to the use of toxins (and venoms), such as alkaloids, where we also find molecular convergence.