How Plants Evolved to Colonize Land Over 500-Million Years Ago
Published:16 Feb.2022    Source:University of Bristol
Scientists analysing one of the largest genomic datasets of plants have discovered how the first plants on Earth evolved the mechanisms used to control water and 'breathe' on land hundreds of millions of years ago. The study by the University of Bristol and University of Essex, published in New Phytologist, has important implications in understanding how plant water transport systems have evolved and how these might adapt in future in response to climate change.
Over the last 500-million years, the evolution of land plants has supported the diversity of life on an increasingly green planet. Throughout their evolution, plants have acquired adaptations such as leaves and roots, allowing them to control water and colonise land. Some of these 'tools' evolved in early land plants and today are found in both tiny mosses and giant trees which form complex forest ecosystems.