Avoiding the best spots

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How plants deal with stress has always fascinated me. Remember that post where I argued that plants can fly? Well, they can for sure, yet that does not mean they have to be able to deal with the circumstances wherever they land.

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Pickleweed, Salicornia sp.

It is thus a logical assumption that plants would prefer to be on the best spots possible in that sessile part of their lives: if you have to stay where you are, better be somewhere good, don’t you think? Yet there is animportant issues with being on a good spot: your neighbours.

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Competition for the good spots is tough, and only the best competitors will be able to survive there. Living in optimal conditions might thus easily be as much of a resource investment as the other alternative: living were conditions are much worse.

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And that brings me to the stress-tolerant species: plants that invested their energy in coping with stressfull conditions, instead of finding ways to outcompete others in less stressfull environments. Good examples of such stress-tolerant species can be found in the pictures in this post: all species from the Camargue in southern France, a brackish vegetation along the inland lagunes of the Meditteranean.

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An inland lagune close to Montpellier, France

They often are succulent, or at least very sturdy, with stems and leaves especially designed to limit the water loss in the high-salt environment. This investments has a cost concerning growth rate, reproduction etc., yet in an environment where only the tough ones can survive, growing fast is not a necessity.

More pictures: check the gallery called ‘Montpellier 2017‘ on the right of this blog.

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