Relationships between parents and children are complicated. This is not only true for people and animals, but it is also true for plants. In this research paper Dr. David Haig explores the relationship between mothers and their offspring in mosses.
Haig, D. (2012). Filial mistletoes: the functional morphology of moss sporophytes Annals of Botany, 111 (3), 337-345 DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcs295
|This is a figure that I am working on for |
a paper that I am writing. It is still a work
in progress. If you have any comments or
suggestions for improvement feel free to
leave them at the end of the post.
Stomata are cells with an opening between them. These pores enable gas to enter the leaves for photosynthesis in many plants. Additionally water escapes from the plant through these pores, drawing up water from the roots to the leaves. Haig's interpretation for mosses is that the stomata in the capsule are helping the sporophyte offspring to pull water and nutrients from the maternal gametophyte at higher rates. Thus increasing the resources that it is able to acquire. Often the photosynthesis explantation for moss stomata function is invoked, but I think that this is a really good alternative hypothesis for the stomata on moss sporophytes. As Haig so aptly said, "Sporophytes suck."
He also interprets the moss calyptra in light of this struggle between offspring and maternal plant. I am running a little late for game night, so the rest of this discussion is to be continued...