Monday, December 18, 2006

Desert Design

Something called Crassulacean acid metabolism photosynthesis is one thing that allows desert plants to conserve water and live in dry climates (like Southern California). Took a few photos yesterday afternoon of some cacti...

How are they able to survive with so little water? Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert light energy to food, and in a simple way is

carbon dioxide + water + light energy → glucose (sugar) + oxygen + water

In addition to having thick "leaves", desert plants close their pores (stomata) during the hot dry day to save water, and use "stored" carbon dioxide (collected during the night) to carry out photosynthesis.

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