Trees seen resting branches while 'asleep'

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, May 20, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    In the experiment, first of its kind, scientists scanned trees in Austria and Finland with laser beams between sunset and sunrise. From the time it takes beams to bounce back from branches and leaves, they could measure the movements of each tree, in three dimensions and at resolutions of centimetres.
    They found that trees have been shown to undergo physical changes at night that can be likened to sleep, or at least to day-night cycles that have been observed experimentally in smaller plants.
    Branches of birch trees have now been seen drooping by as much as 10 centimetres at the tips towards the end of the night.

    https://www.newscientist.com/articl...ing-branches-while-asleep-for-the-first-time/
     
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  3. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    The explanation seemed obvious to me and sure enough the researchers had reached the same conclusion:

    The drooping effect is probably caused by loss of internal water pressure within plant cells, a phenomenon called turgor pressure. “It means branches and leaf stems are less rigid, and more prone to drooping under their own weight,” says Zlinszky. Turgor pressure, in turn, is influenced by photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to create sugar from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis stops in the dark, so this in itself may explain why the branches droop, says Zlinszky.

    So two thoughts come to mind:

    1. The study confirms what should have been wholly expected. Trying to invest it with greater significance is silly. (Don't they even know what a spandrel is?)

    2. Building on that silliness the New Scientist has indulged in the worst practices of science journalism in trying to "sex up" an nice piece of research and convert it into "insights into the mysterious and complex world of plants".
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I can't add anything to Ophitolite's eloquent response.
     
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  7. nebel

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    This is the only place I found to post, sorry if off topic. I observed, that tree wounds like a circumcision, heal from the top down (surely nothing new to the experts), the organism not using mineral-laden water directly sucked from the roots, but goodies made in the leaves to feed the healing. ( I used a tree healing analogy in my familiar cosmology haunt, "gravity, it's dual nature").
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    But it wasn't, by lots of folks.

    Turgor, for example, is controlled by most plants - it's not necessarily a simple response, and it has a variety of functions (including herbivory and disease resistance, structural strength under wind load and rain weight, etc). The tree is making some tradeoffs. There are reasons to expect a tree - or at least some trees, some of the time - to maintain it overnight, in the branches.
    Assuming such behaviors are spandrels would be dubious - not as silly as talking about trees going to sleep, maybe, but not safe in general.
     
  9. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not much for flora. They have sex with animals.

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  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Here is brand of margarine

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  11. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

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    I can't believe it's not asleep.

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