Adaptation to Terrestrial Living

6 June 2016

Terrestrial ecology or dry lands are zones that have limited availability of soil water due low penetration and high evaporation of the water. They don’t give enough precipitation distribution to sustain water resources that meet plant requirements. This leads to moisture input being less than the moisture loss in plants.

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Plants adapt to terrestrial land in different forms, some of them include; surface pores (stomata) which makes exchange of gases possible, a waxy cuticle, reproductive structures that are protected and embryonic sporophyte retention in the female gametophyte. In order for the plants to utilize mineral resources in the soil and water, the plant’s roots respond by having large surface areas that are supported by mycorrhiza. They also possess some vascular tissue in which the food and water are conducted. In addition to this, the plant roots lack chlorophyll and wax (Sukumar, 2003, pp. 56).

The plant has got leaves and Stems that are responsible for tapping light and carbon dioxide that enables photosynthesis to take place. In order for that plant to utilize this effectively the leaves and the stems do have waxy covering that inhibit loss of water and some chloroplasts which moves to get arrangement for light absorption in the best approach. The leaves also have turgo pressure which inhibits the wilting of the leaves. To prevent excess water loss through the leaves that may make the plant dry up, the leaves are structured in a way that their stomata controls the loss of water and the absorption of carbon dioxide (Sukmar, 2003, pp.67).

Gravitational forces prevent the plant to grow in a vertical manner. To overcome this, the plant has got Lignin which is used to reinforce cellulose. It is a skeletal support that gives turgo pressure chance to increase in order to support the plants rigidity. Another adaptation of plants to terrestrial living is the vascular transport system. This is essential since the plant needs a mechanism that inhibits water loss as well as efficient conduction of the water. This vascular system is composed of the xylem, microscopic pipes and phloem. Lignified Xylem adds to the tissue that supports the plant.

Dryness is another problem of plants in adapting to terrestrial living which the plant has got no option but to adapt to. The plant responds to this in several ways; the seeds assist in dispersion of plants. They also have the capability to survive the harshest conditions. Some of the seeds do survive for many years till favorable conditions come, when it sprouts. In order for the plant to spread, the male gametophyte part of the pollen is structured in a way that it travels big distances being carried by either insects or the wind. The plant has diploid condition that shows all the above described specialized tissues that help in dominance of generation of Sporophyte (Adger, 2001, pp.89).

To make good utilization of reproduction system, the plants flowering system is structured to attract pollinators. The flowers are the co evolution products with animals and especially insect leading to efficient means of egg and sperm unity. The structure of their fruits helps to disperse the seeds. The flowers are designed in a specialized way that helps prevent self fertilization, reduces energy demands and at the same time attracting insects. The pollein grains of the plants hustling to adapt to terrestrial living have little moisture which makes them easy dispersed by wind and easily move from the anther to stigma.

References:

Adger W. Neil, 2001. Living with Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability, Adaptation and Resilience in Vietnam. London: Routledge; pp.89.

Sukumar Raman, 2003. The Living Elephants: Evolution Ecology, Behavior and Conservation. Oxford: Oxford University Press; pp. 56, 67.

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