Friday, April 13, 2012

Which plant species will survive droughts and climate change?

UCLA life scientists are researching which plant species are best able to withstand climate change and droughts, the effects of which are becoming more and more obvious around the world. Already, many regions are seeing the consequences of these issues, and different species react in different ways. For example, dry soil negatively affects sunflowers, but California chaparral shrubs can last through long dry seasons.

In order to determine why this is the case, UCLA scientists are focusing on "turgor pressure," the ability of a plant's cells to hold up its walls through pressure from internal salty water. When a plant captures carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, some of this water is lost to evaporation. During periods of fraught, it's harder for the plant to maintain the necessary water pressure to hold up its cell walls. Scientists hope that through studying turgor pressure, they will be able to predict and plan for conservation in the future.

Read more about this research at Environmental Protection, or visit the Water Library website to find recommended reading lists about climate change and water conservation.