Biologists have proven that plants help each other in difficult conditions

(ORDO NEWS) — Biologists from the University of Tubing have created and tested in practice a model that demonstrates that plants growing in one place under difficult conditions have a positive effect on each other.

Scientists based on existing empirical studies, according to which plants in conditions, for example, too salty soil or too high temperature, are more likely to help a friend than compete with each other. “In hot weather, for example, large plants share a shadow with small ones, and they can grow better,” says one of the authors of the study, Professor Katya Tilberger. However, under normal conditions, such relationships may well develop into competition.

In the mathematical model they created, the Tubing biologists combined two main factors – the density of growth and stressful conditions. As a result, they found out that under stress the presence of neighbors benefits plants, and only at very high density does competition arise.

Scientists have successfully tested the theoretical model in practice by conducting a series of experiments with growing in the soil with varying degrees of salinity the Tal rezovidka, a plant often used in biological research.

In artificially salinized soil, rekuvidka species, which had many neighbors, grew much better, while rarely planted plants suffered significantly more from harsh conditions, and many of the solitary perished. At the same time, plants planted in normal soil had a negative effect on their neighbors as competitors.

The authors of the study are sure that the model they developed is widely used and can be used to predict the response of plants to stressful conditions, including the increase in temperature and drought in the context of global climate change.

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