In the Shade

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Science  14 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5537, pp. 1955
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5537.1955d

Plant species display a wide range of tolerances to levels of light and shade—some being extremely shade-tolerant, others being light-demanding. Also, the complement of photosynthetic and associated pigments in the chloroplasts of plants varies according to the intensity of light to which the plants are exposed. To assess whether patterns of pigment composition are adaptive or simply indicative of acclimation to growing conditions, Rosevear et al. germinated seeds from 23 plant species from a variety of British habitats and grew the plants under different light conditions before analyzing pigment content. The growth conditions were more important in determining pigment content than was the original source habitat, which suggests that the selective forces during shade adaptation do not fundamentally alter the light-harvesting machinery. — AMS

Funct. Ecol.15, 474 (2001).

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