How Plants Beat the Heat: Lessons from a Hairy Cactus

How Plants Beat the Heat: Lessons from a Hairy Cactus

It's summer time, and that means temperatures are heating up. While humans are migrating to swimming pools or air-conditioned movie theaters, plants are still stuck outside without the luxury of beach umbrellas or some mediocre fiction to keep them entertained. While there's not much they can do about boredom, plants have evolved plenty of innovative ways to keep cool in harsh environments, and that's the topic of this new series. 

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Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, and Daphnia magna

Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, and Daphnia magna

"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

Organisms must continue to adapt, lest they be overcome by predators or left behind by prey, but all of that adapting leaves them with no more advantage than they had before. This idea has come to be called the Red Queen Hypothesis, and it made quite an impact on the field of evolutionary biology.

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It’s an evolutionary arms-race out there!

It’s an evolutionary arms-race out there!

There’s always been a natural appeal to understanding the battle between two enemies.  As one adapts, so must the other.

Consider the sit-and-wait predator in his shiny patrol car waiting behind a freeway overpass to catch speeders on the highway.  As drivers became more aware of police, they had to employ radar guns to catch their prey...

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