ozone pollution threatens plant health and makes it harder for pollinators to find flowers
A bee pollinates a sunflower. Credit: Evgenios Agathokleous

Over the past decades, rising levels of ozone pollution have been interrupting pollination, impacting the livelihood of both plants and the animals that pollinate them. In a review published September 29 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, researchers explain how an excess of ground-level ozone can damage plant foliage, change plants’ flowering patterns, and act as a barrier to pollinators finding blooms.

“There is much noise about the direct effects of agrochemicals on pollinators, a subject of profound societal attention, but it now emerges that ozone is a silent threat to pollinators and thus pollination,” says lead author Evgenios Agathokleous, an ecologist at Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology. “These impacts of ozone have long been missed.”

Ozone gas can be both friend and foe to the planet. In the stratosphere, 12 kilometers above sea level, ozone forms naturally and helps protect the Earth from harmful sun rays. But below that zone, ozone is a damaging pollutant. Tropospheric-level ozone gas is created by a photochemical reaction between volatile organic compounds—emitted by vegetation and commonly found in substances such as paint and aerosols—and oxides of nitrogen, which are released when fossil fuels burn. Tropospheric ozone levels have been rising because a warming climate is creating optimal conditions for its formation.

“Ozone pollution can affect the timing and duration of flowering in such a way that the occurrence of flowering is asynchronous to the activities of pollinators,” says Agathokleous. “It can also change the color of flowers, disrupting the visual signals to pollinators. Ozone pollution can also directly react with pollen, decreasing its quality, but also indirectly changing the amount of pollen.”

Ozone pollution can also damage plant leaves almost instantly, leaving injury signs of diverse colors and shapes and discoloring leaves. When damaged, leaves have a hard time photosynthesizing and struggle to provide the plant with the energy it needs to grow. Plants emit their own organic volatile compounds that act as chemical signals facilitating communication from one plant to another and alert pollinators to the presence of a waiting flower. Ozone pollution appears to be disrupting these chemical signatures.

“Changes in the composition of the volatile blends could also have severe implications to pollinators because they might not recognize host plants and their qualities in the same way they did in the past,” says Agathokleous. “Within plant tissues, ozone pollution could decrease the amount of nutrients that are essential to insects, increase the abundance of chemicals that are harmful to insects ingesting them, and degrade the overall quality of plant tissues.” More information: Ozone pollution disrupts plant-pollinator systems, Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2022.08.004 , www.cell.com/trends/ecology-ev … 0169-5347(22)00199-9 Journal information: Trends in Ecology and Evolution , Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Provided by Cell Press Citation: Ozone pollution threatens plant health and makes it harder for pollinators to find flowers (2022, September 29) retrieved 29 September 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-ozone-pollution-threatens-health-harder.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Bats growl like death metal singers and Mongolian throat singers

Bat larynx inside. Credit: University of Southern Denmark Many animals produce sound to communicate with each other, and bats are no exception. But bats are extreme when it comes to sound production. Bats can produce a range of frequencies, also known as the vocal range, that far exceeds vertebrates, ...

View more: Bats growl like death metal singers and Mongolian throat singers

Increasing crop yields by breeding plants to cooperate

A century of breeding progress has improved maize varieties such that they can be more effectively packed into high-density fields, thus increasing yields per crop area. Neighboring fields of the Swiss traditional maize landrace “Rheintaler Ribelmais” (left) and a modern elite variety (right). Credit: Samuel Wuest (CC-BY 4.0, creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) ...

View more: Increasing crop yields by breeding plants to cooperate

Cryptoassets: New algorithm shows that nested financial services could cause domino effects

Illustration shows how the proposed algorithm separates the financial services (DeFi protocols) for swapping the USDT to the KYL cryptoasset. The end-user interacts with the 1inch services, but the service uses internally with two Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) and the wETH token, as an intermediary cryptoasset. Credit: Complexity Science Hub ...

View more: Cryptoassets: New algorithm shows that nested financial services could cause domino effects

Baby star 'burps' tell tales of frantic feeding, data shows

Space telescope images captured in infrared light reveal otherwise unseen details, as in this image of star-forming regions in the Orion Nebula. A recent study that relied on infrared data tracked frequent outbursts from baby stars as they gathered mass from surrounding disks of gas and dust. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech ...

View more: Baby star 'burps' tell tales of frantic feeding, data shows

Forests found to benefit from tree species variety and genetic diversity

Conceptual illustration of the effects of functional diversity (a) and trophic feedbacks on tree productivity (b) and the experimental design (c). Credit: eLife (2022). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.78703 Reforestation projects should include a variety of tree species and ensure genetic diversity within each species to maximize new forests’ health and productivity, ...

View more: Forests found to benefit from tree species variety and genetic diversity

Scientists propose framework for understanding establishment of plants after long-distance dispersal

Diversity of seed form and function. Credit: KIB Mechanisms of plant colonization after long-distance dispersal (LDD) and current related knowledge were the topic of a review by Prof. Li Dezhu’s team at the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in collaboration with researchers from ...

View more: Scientists propose framework for understanding establishment of plants after long-distance dispersal

Astronomers ‘Troubled’ as New Satellite Outshines Most Stars in the Sky

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. Cell phone towers in space may be the next frontier of mobile communication, but astronomers are starting to get worried. AST SpaceMobile successfully deployed its new BlueWalker 3 communication satellite, and the International Astronomical Union ...

View more: Astronomers ‘Troubled’ as New Satellite Outshines Most Stars in the Sky

Gaming On A Core i9-13900K; Look Ma, No E-Cores!

Does It Help Or Hinder? The latest processor to go through TechPowerUp’s gauntlet of gaming is the Intel Core i9-13900K.  They tested it in 53 games spanning the last decade to include DX11, DX12 and Vulkan in the results, and tested at 1080p, 1440p and at 4K.  They also ...

View more: Gaming On A Core i9-13900K; Look Ma, No E-Cores!

Researchers create potential method for making net-zero aviation fuel

High-efficiency electrocatalysts could be realized through electronic modulation for advanced lithium-sulfur batteries

Study explores link between shark nose shape, size and sensitivity of smell

Child sexual abuse review: How research can help to tackle growing online abuse

The Chinese protests are about politics and freedom, but they are also about what COVID might do if it is let loose now

Virus undercuts fungus's attacks on wheat

Underpaid at home, vulnerable abroad: How seasonal job schemes are draining Pacific nations of vital workers

Two thirds of Australian authors are women. Our new research finds they earn just $18,200 from their writing

Generation X better prepared for retirement than experts thought

To fight the climate crisis, we need to stop expanding offshore drilling for oil and gas

Cyber Monday Deals Still Available: Don't Miss These 77 Sales Under $50

Last Chance for These 28 Cyber Week Doodads on Amazon

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News