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Moisture‐Dependent Morphing Tunes the Dispersal of Dandelion Diaspores

22 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019 Publication Status: Under Review

See all articles by Madeleine Seale

Madeleine Seale

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences; University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems; University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology; Heriot-Watt University, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, School of Energy, Geosciences, Infrastructure and Environment

Oleksandr Zhdanov

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Cathal Cummins

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences ; University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology; University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Energy Systems

Erika Kroll

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Students

Michael Blatt

University of Glasgow - Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biophysics

Hossein Zare‐Behtash

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Angela Busse

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Enrico Mastropaolo

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems

Ignazio Maria Viola

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Energy Systems

Naomi Nakayama

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences ; University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology; University of Edinburgh - Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions

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Abstract

Long distance dispersal (LDD) is considered particularly important for plant range expansion. Such events are rare, however, and for wind-dispersed species updrafts or extreme weather events are required. Despite the importance of LDD for plant population dynamics, dispersing long distances is risky to the survival of individual seeds and the majority of seeds disperse short distances. The extent to which most wind dispersed plants can manipulate dispersal ranges of individual seeds is debatable as wind speeds are generally more variable than seed traits. Here, we present a dynamic mechanism by which dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) seeds can regulate their dispersal in response to environmental conditions. We used time lapse imaging to observe shape changes in dandelion pappi. We also analysed diaspore fluid mechanics in two wind tunnels and used particle image velocimetry (PIV) to understand flight characteristics of the morphing structure. We have found that by changing the shape of the pappus when wet, detachment from the parent plant is greatly reduced and seed falling velocities are increased with a significant change in velocity deficit behind the seed. We suggest that this may be a form of informed dispersal maintaining LDD in dry conditions, while spatiotemporally directing short-range dispersal toward beneficial wetter environments.

Keywords: wind dispersal, biological fluid mechanics, abscission bias, dandelion, Asteraceae

Suggested Citation

Seale, Madeleine and Zhdanov, Oleksandr and Cummins, Cathal and Kroll, Erika and Blatt, Michael and Zare‐Behtash, Hossein and Busse, Angela and Mastropaolo, Enrico and Viola, Ignazio Maria and Nakayama, Naomi, Moisture‐Dependent Morphing Tunes the Dispersal of Dandelion Diaspores (February 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3334428 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3334428
This version of the paper has not been formally peer reviewed.

Madeleine Seale

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Heriot-Watt University, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, School of Energy, Geosciences, Infrastructure and Environment

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Oleksandr Zhdanov

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

Cathal Cummins

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Energy Systems

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Erika Kroll

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Students

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Michael Blatt

University of Glasgow - Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biophysics

Bower Building
Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

Hossein Zare‐Behtash

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

Angela Busse

University of Glasgow - James Watt School of Engineering

Glasgow, Scotland
United Kingdom

Enrico Mastropaolo

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Ignazio Maria Viola

University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering, Institute for Energy Systems ( email )

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

Naomi Nakayama (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences ( email )

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh - Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology ( email )

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh - Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions ( email )

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom

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