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45 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

There are at least two separate answers to your question. First, with respect to plants needing CO2, they have evolved to deal with the limited amounts of CO2 normally in the atmosphere. That's ...
jamesqf's user avatar
  • 3,643
40 votes

Why do some vegetables taste bitter?

Nice question! Many vegetables taste bitter because they contain compounds known as phytonutrients (Greek phyto = "plant"). There are more than 2500 phytonutrients known, and the most important (and ...
another 'Homo sapien''s user avatar
37 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

Exhaust gasses from combustion contain many compounds in addition to CO2. Some of them under the right circumstances‡ can be of limited benefit to some plants, but others such as ozone are damaging ...
tyersome's user avatar
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19 votes
Accepted

If plants "alternate generations" between sporophytes and gametophytes, why don't we say the same of humans?

The big difference is that in humans, there is no mitosis in the haploid phase. There are three terms that are important here: Haplontic: Most of the life is spent in the haploid phase Diplontic: ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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18 votes

Is it scientifically sound to pool repeated measurements?

If you use the configuration on the left, your variance across tubes reflects variance between individuals. If you use the configuration on the right, your variance across tubes reflects primarily ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
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16 votes
Accepted

Why do some vegetables taste bitter?

Bitter taste is sensed by bitter sensitive gustducin receptors (T2R family). There are different types of bitter receptors and they can be triggered by different kinds of ligands. Different classses ...
WYSIWYG's user avatar
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15 votes
Accepted

Why aren't leaves black?

Evolutionary answer: I like to go one step before green plants and consider the humble alga. Algae were historically classified as green, red, and brown, based on the wavelengths that their ...
aeffenberger's user avatar
15 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

Firstly, I don't think it's entirely clear whether the entire premise of the question is correct. I couldn't find any evidence to suggest that plants don't thrive on highways and areas with lots of ...
user438383's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why do birches have a white bark?

It is protection against rapid warming of the cambium layer. A lot of far northern timber has light colored bark which reflects sunlight. The rapid heating from very cold after sunrise can actually ...
John's user avatar
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14 votes
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Can plants produce oxygen at night (without light)?

Short Answer: Any plant can produce oxygen at night, but plants cannot produce oxygen without light. Longer Answer: It all comes down to spontaneity of a reaction i.e. whether a reaction can occur ...
another 'Homo sapien''s user avatar
14 votes

Are two colors (red + blue) necessary for LED grow lights, or would either color be sufficient?

tl;dr: Sort of? Logically, either red or blue light should be sufficient. Chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b preferentially activate different photosystems, and both photosystems are required in green ...
Resonating's user avatar
  • 4,068
13 votes

Why do plants store energy as carbohydrates and not as fats?

The question was: Why would plants store their energy as carbohydrates and not as fats, if fats are a more efficient energy store? But before trying to answer it you have to be quite clear what is ...
David's user avatar
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12 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

Back in the early days of climate science, there were some scientists who considered the possibility that increased CO2 production would lead to increased plant growth, and that this in turn would ...
IndigoFenix's user avatar
11 votes

What determines the spiral direction of plants?

tendril coiling occurs via asymmetric contraction of an internal fiber ribbon of specialized cells. Under tension, both extracted fiber ribbons and old tendrils exhibit twistless overwinding rather ...
Bees's user avatar
  • 161
11 votes
Accepted

How does coconut water solidify into hardened coconut meat?

There are three types of endosperms encountered in botany - nuclear, heliobial and cellular. The endosperm of Cocos nucifera is both special and interesting. Initially, the cocunut is a nuclear ...
Polisetty's user avatar
  • 3,687
11 votes

What part, roughly, of the carbon in a plant comes from the soil? As opposed to the atmosphere?

Only a small fraction of plant carbon is soil-derived: e.g. from Majlesi et al 2019: although the majority of plant C was obtained from atmosphere by photosynthesis, a significant portion (up to 3–5%)...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
  • 5,364
9 votes
Accepted

The colour of aquatic plants found deep under oceans

You're right that certain wavelengths of light are more capable of penetrating deeper depths of water. However, it turns out, blue light typically travels to deeper depths than all other visible ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Why do plants need oxygen through their roots?

Plants need oxygen but don't have a heart Complex animals all have a circulatory system of some sort to get oxygen throughout the body for respiration. Plants also do respiration even though they are ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
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8 votes

Why are C4 plants mainly tropical plants?

This is not my field, so the following is based solely on a brief reading of Internet sources. The Wikipedia entry on C4 carbon fixation states: When grown in the same environment, at 30°C, C3 ...
David's user avatar
  • 26.2k
8 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

Ignoring for a moment the other pollutants emitted from car exhaust, increased CO2 levels are warming the planet, through what is called the "greenhouse effect". Photosynthesis is a set of reactions ...
Alex Reynolds's user avatar
8 votes

If plants benefit from carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

It seems as if nature should absolutely thrive in the middle of highways and nearby, if they get so much nice carbon dioxide from the cars! In fact, some species of plants are likely to thrive from ...
user1850479's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is the fate of the typical tree?

This is a great question. Without going into too much detail, there is a series of studies done in northeastern US temperate forests (specifically at Great Mountain Forest in Connecticut, USA) on the ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
  • 5,364
7 votes
Accepted

Does anyone know the explanation for branches with different flower colors (see picture)?

Many ornamental cherries are grown on a hardier root stock, that is, they are propagated by grafting onto hardy wild cherry saplings. This is because the ornamental variety will not produce offspring ...
anongoodnurse's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Books for learning how plants function

I wanted to comment because I don't think my answer will be the best, but I can't because of my low reputation... Anyway, here are two suggestions: Plant Physiology and Development, by Lincoln Taiz, ...
justdoit's user avatar
  • 704
7 votes

Why do animals use glycogen for their polysaccharide storage whereas plants use starch?

well glycogen can be broken down into sugars a lot faster, many more branches means many more ends to clip individual sugars off of, that's how you mobilize the sugar for use, it is clipped of the end ...
John's user avatar
  • 14.7k

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