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Old 04-28-2006, 09:18 PM
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Certain planrs which grow near the poles under the thick layer of ice do survive in the dark. the question is how?

Marine plants need light in order to photosynthesise and grow. So what happens in an environment where there is no daylight for four months of the year, and for much of the rest of the time there is a thick covering of ice? These are the conditions faced by plants in Antarctic marine coastal waters. Nevertheless, these plants can grow well enough to help support a very rich array of benthic marine fauna (see “Assessing biodiversity”).

The amount of light that gets through the ice to the water below is a key influence on organisms living under persistent sea ice. This determines whether plants can photosynthesise, and consequently can affect the amount and type of food available for herbivores. Thus sea-ice affects both primary (plant) and secondary (animal) production.

Monotropa uniflora can actually grow in dark (and spoooooooooky) environments because it is not dependent on light for photosynthesis. You can find this plant in rich habitats-- dense moist forests with much surface leaf litter, often in a situation that is too shaded for autotrophic (photosynthetic) growth.
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