Plants are boring. They just sit there with photosynthesis, while the animals are fun. Right? Not so much. Discover the interactions between ants and plants – the plants have developed special features that attract ants such as eating insects and juicy nectar to protect them. On the contrary plants use ants to spread their seeds and even act as bodyguards. New research Postgraduate training of the National Academy destroys 1,700 species of ants and 10,000 hereditary hereditary hereditary histories, and researchers found that long history of antler and plant antigen began with ants who later planted plants and plants by responding to emerging antiautective features.
"My most important asset is to explore how the interactions between the organism have evolved and how these interactions shape their evolutionary history. When did the ants use plants and when plants begin to build ants' structures?" says Matt Nelsen, Postgraduate Student of the Field Museum and Writer of the Leadership PNAS research.
"There are a number of different structures of plants that are special ant-use," says Nelsen, who led the research with his field museum scientist and collaborators Rick Ree and Corrie Moreu. "Some plants have developed features that encourage ants to defend them from the attacks of other insects and even mammals, such as hollow spikes that ants live in, or extra nectars of leaves or stems, so that ants eat it, take nectar and run, but some stick to and attack all who are trying to damage the plant, "says Nelsen. Other plants get ants to help them move around their seeds by bribing them rich food packages related to seeds called elaiosomes. "Ants raise seeds and carry it away, eat a food pack and drop seeds – often a nutritious area where it grows, and because it is farther away from their host, they do not have to compete for resources."
But scientists were not sure how the anthropomorphic and evolutionary party began. If evolution is a weaponry between species that develop ways to benefit from their neighbors, scientists wanted to know if the plants or ants shot the first shot. "It was a chicken-and-egg question as to whether or not the ants will develop a behavioral model to use plants that use plants or plants to exploit ants," says curator Ree of Field Museum Plant.
The history of ancient and plant is changing together for dinosaurs, and fossils are not easy to tell how organisms are interacting. "There is very little fossil record in these structures in plants, and they do not go far beyond time, and there are plenty of ants fossils, but they do not typically see these ant behavioral patterns – we do not necessarily see the preserved amber preserved from the seeds", Nelsen says.
Thus, Nelsen and his colleagues turned to large amounts of DNA data and ecological databases to investigate the early evolution of ant-plant interactions. "In our research, we combined these behavioral and physical characteristics of the ants and plant relatives to determine when the ants began to eat and live in plants, and when the plants developed the ability to produce structures used by ants," Fields Curator Moreau explains. ants.
The team mapped the history of plant antimony properties and the use of ant planting to these family structures – a process called the reconstruction of the original state. They were able to determine when the plants began to resort to the defense forces and the distribution of seeds – and it seems that the ants have trusted the plants longer than the plants have done directly to ants because the plants did not develop these specialized structures until long after the ants had believed them food and habitat.
"Some ants do not directly use plants much while others rely on them for food, feeding habitats and nesting." We have noticed that in order to be able to invest entirely in plants, the ants started hunting for the first time, and then began to plunder arboreal. increasing confidence in plants is intuitive, it still surprises us, "says Nelsen.
And although over the years there has been a mutually beneficial relationship between ants and plants, on the evolution side, ants groups that eat, feed, or sit in plants do not seem to be better than those who do not. "We do not see parts of a genomic genome gene that contains ants that rely on plants from food or habitat that multiply or grow faster than parts of a tree that do not have these interactions," Nelsen says. "This research is important because it gives a clear picture of how these complex and complex interactions evolve."
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