According to the researchers, genetic testing showed that they had discovered the world’s largest plant – a giant seagrass meadow that stretches for more than 200 square kilometers off the west coast of Australia.
And we’re not talking about many different seagrasses. No, it was one and the same plant that had grown up. Very large.
This is an English newspaper Security which discusses the surprising findings that researchers at, among others, the University of Western Australia are behind and published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
But it didn’t happen overnight to cover an area three times the size of Manhattan or 20,000 football fields. It takes approx. 4500 years.
The underwater bottom, called posidonia australis, can be seen in Shark Bay off Western Australia. Here, a plant originally derived from two different seagrasses, has found optimal growing conditions.
Dear children, by many names, this plant was later also called ribbon weed and fiber ball weed, and thus fulfills the expression “grows like a weed”.
When the researchers started looking for genetic differences in the samples they took at different places in the bay, they were completely shocked. Even though they were taken for 180 km, all of them indicate that there is no talk of many different plants, but one and the same.
– We thought «what’s going on here? We were totally blown away, said Dr. Martin Breed, an ecologist at Flinders University, according to The Guardian.
Jane Edgeloe, a student and researcher at the University of Western Australia, said they looked at about 18,000 genetic markers to see if they could find variations of the species they could use in the project.
But what they found was that it was the same plant that spreads through the rhizomes, somewhat similar to a strawberry plant with its shoots.
Today’s 200 square kilometers of ribbon weed appears to have developed from a single seed colony, Edgeloe said.
And the show is now home to turtles, dolphins, manatees, crabs and fish.
The ground stalks of the ribbon weed grow up to 35 cm per year, and at this rate, the researchers estimate that the plant must have taken at least 4,500 years to spread over such a large area.
And it’s fine in Shark Bay although the salinity varies greatly and the temperature here fluctuates between 15 and 30 degrees.
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