Meat-Eating Plants Getting "Full" On Pollution
Carnivorous plants in nitrogen-rich bogs eat fewer bugs, new study says.
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all plants. But, like other carnivorous species, the roundleaf sundew plant (Drosera rotundifolia) has evolved to live in nitrogen-poor environments by supplementing its diet with insects.
(See "Worm-Eating Plant Found—Kills via Underground Leaves.")
Throughout the developed world, industrial activities have caused an increase in nitrogen pollution, so that more of the element is seeping into soils via rainfall.
In Sweden, where the experiments took place, the southern and central parts of the country are more polluted than the north, which has less industry.
Accordingly, the team found that roundleaf sundew plants in southern Swedish bogs are taking up more nitrogen via their roots than those in northern and central bogs, said study leader Jonathan Millett, a