Jumat, 05 Oktober 2012

Primitive Marine Plants Can Outsmart Their Natural Predators, Researchers Say

According to a new report published in the scientific online journal PLoS ONE, it isn't just complex organisms that can escape their natural predators in rather witty ways.

Quite the contrary, the phytoplankton Heterisigma akashiwo has been found to be quite gifted when it comes to making sure it doesn't become the next meal of zooplankton which typically feeds on it.

This recently published study states that, as peculiar as this may sound, the phytoplankton known to science as Heterisigma akashiwo can discriminate between the various types of predators it is forced to share its natural habitat with.

More precisely: although it is true that is swims away in the presence of zooplankton, it is also true that it stays put whenever it finds itself in the presence of predators whose dietary habits do not include feasting on it.

In other words: it knows exactly what it needs to stay away from.

As well as this, researchers claim that this phytoplankton has a very accurate understanding of the zooplankton's behavior when faced with various environmental conditions.

In plain words, the chemical composition of various parts of the marine environment does not sit very well with zooplankton, which is why the latter avoids them for the most part.

Interestingly enough, it is precisely in such areas where the phytoplankton took refuge whenever it happened to come across them.

Lastly, the phytoplankton Heterosigma akashiwo also avoided areas that its aforementioned natural predators used to inhabit, regardless of the fact that the zooplankton was no longer there and supposedly all that remained was clean water.

This is the first time when scientists have documented such behavior in phytoplankton, meaning that, although it was known that these micro-organisms move about in order to gain access to food and sun light, nobody ever suspected that they are also capable of actively avoiding their natural predators.

Via: Primitive Marine Plants Can Outsmart Their Natural Predators, Researchers Say

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