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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Emerging Science Note/Sex in the Jungle

Air Date: Week of January 20, 2006

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When plants compete for pollination, it's a jungle out there. Rachel Gotbaum has this week's Note on Emerging Science.

Transcript

GOTBAUM: When it comes to sex, plants can be fierce competitors. And some scientists say the rivalry can lead to the extinction of species.

Researchers at the University of Calgary studied 166 different plants from around the globe. They found that in places where a diverse population of plants was vying for pollination – from bees, birds and even bats – the greater the number of plants that suffered from low pollination rates. Low pollination means low reproductive rates; the plants are simply not generating enough seeds and fruit to carry on their species.

Scientists worry that in biological hotspots such as tropical rainforests – where plants are already threatened by development and resource extraction – the low pollination rates accelerate habitat destruction. And with the loss of habitat, pollinators are threatened, too, putting ecosystems at risk. That’s this week’s note on emerging science. I’m Rachel Gotbaum.

 

 

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