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[科学美国人60秒] 【整理】SSS 2008-02-13

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On lochker

This is Scientific American‘s 60-Second Science. I'm Karen Hopkin. This will just take a minute.

Seems like every other week brings news that global warming is gonna be bad for some poor animal or other. But plants, well, I guess I was thinking the plants would welcome the heat. I mean, global warming is caused by greenhouse gases, and plants live in green houses, so everyone's happy. Well, according to a new study, published in the February 12 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, I was wrong, or at least not quite right. Because plants, too, are likely to face / problems as the earth heats up, and their biggest problem may be insects. Scientists were looking at the fossilized remains of leaves that fell off trees about 55 million years ago. At that time, the planet was undergoing a period of warming. The scientists found that as the temperatures rose, the leaves looked more nibbled. Seems that with more CO2 in the atmosphere, plants take up more carbon, that actually make their leaves less nutritious for plant-munching bugs, so the insects just eat more. So a warmer planet will be home to some hungry bugs, which I dare say will not please the trees or anyone else who relies on plants for food, which includes, ultimately, all of us.

Thanks for the minute for Scientific American‘s 60-Second Science. I'm Karen Hopkin.


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