News From the Field
First Rainforests Arose When Plants Solved Plumbing Problem
May 3, 2011
A team of scientists, including several from the Smithsonian Institution, discovered that leaves of flowering plants in the world's first rainforests had more veins per unit area than leaves ever had before. They suggest that this increased the amount of water available to the leaves, making it possible for plants to capture more carbon and grow larger. A better plumbing system may also have radically altered water and carbon movement through forests, driving environmental change.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
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