What is it about?
We evaluated the long-held hypothesis that the radiation of angiosperms (flowering plants) has led to the decline of gymnosperms (here approximated by conifers). Using approaches based on dated molecular phylogenies or paleontological data, we estimated processes of conifer diversification and how they relate to different external factors. The diversity of conifers is strongly and directly linked to the increasing diversity of flowering plants since the Cretaceous period, thus attesting to the role of competition between plants.
Photo by Bruno Salvini on Unsplash
Why is it important?
The study of an ancient and relatively species-poor group of plants deepens our understanding of how diversity is regulated over time and in relation to multiple factors. Both phylogenetic and fossil data provide strong support for a widespread hypothesis of competition between clades over time. This study illustrates how entire branches of the tree of life can actively compete for ecological dominance under changing climatic conditions.
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This page is a summary of: The rise of angiosperms pushed conifers to decline during global cooling, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
You can read the full text:
Flowering plants spelled the end of gymnosperm dominance
Interview and comment by Erin Zimmerman on Botany One.
La diversification des plantes à fleur a mené les conifères au déclin pendant les refroidissements climatiques
French press release by the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research)
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