Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Impulsive micromanager microbes help plants adapt, survive

Date:
August 14, 2012
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Soil microbes are impulsive. So much so that they help plants face the challenges of a rapidly changing climate. Biologists have studied how plants and microbes work together to help plants survive the effects of global changes.

Jen Lau, MSU biologist studied how plants and microbes work together to help plants survive the effects of global changes.
Credit: Photo courtesy of MSU

Soil microbes are impulsive. So much so that they help plants face the challenges of a rapidly changing climate.

Related Articles


Jen Lau and Jay Lennon, Michigan State University biologists studied how plants and microbes work together to help plants survive the effects of global changes, such as increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns. The results, appearing in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that microbes in the ground not only interact with plants, but they also prompt them to respond to environmental changes.

"We found that these changes in the plants happen primarily because of what global changes do to the belowground microbes rather than the plant itself," said Lau, who works at MSU's Kellogg Biological Station. "Drought stress affects microbes, and they, in turn, drive plants to flower earlier and help plants grow and reproduce when faced with drought."

The team conducted a multi-generational experiment that manipulated environmental factors above and below ground while paying close attention to the interaction between the plants and microbes in the soil. Close examination of this particle partnership revealed some interesting results.

Researchers already knew that drought stress reduced plant growth and altered their life cycle. The team was surprised, though, to observe that the plants were slow to evolve and, instead, microbes did most of the work of helping plants survive in new, drier environments. This happened because the microbes were quick to adapt to the changing environment.

This newfound aspect of their relationship gives plants an additional strategy for survival, Lau said.

"When faced with environmental change, plants may not be limited to traditional 'adapt or migrate' strategies," she said. "Instead, they may also benefit from a third approach -- interacting with complementary species such as the diverse microbes found in the soil."

Lau and Lennon's research is funded in part by MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. A. Lau, J. T. Lennon. Rapid responses of soil microorganisms improve plant fitness in novel environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1202319109

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Impulsive micromanager microbes help plants adapt, survive." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814110957.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2012, August 14). Impulsive micromanager microbes help plants adapt, survive. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814110957.htm
Michigan State University. "Impulsive micromanager microbes help plants adapt, survive." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814110957.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins