A new study has found that plants with short life cycles can adapt more quickly to climate change, compared to those that reproduce slowly. Thus, it seems that the plants that can grow like a weed may have an advantage when it comes to coping with climate change.
In a statement, Arthur Weis professor of ecology and evolutionary biology said,
Some species evolve fast enough to keep up with environmental change. Global warming may increase the pace of this change so that certain species may have difficulty keeping up. Plants with longer life cycles will have fewer generations over which to evolve.
The researchers have made this observation in a field mustard plant — Brassica rapa. This is an annual plant as it goes from seed to flower and back to seed in one year. This short-time lifecycle of a plant allows it to evolve more rapidly compared to like that of redwood — which takes years to reach maturity and reproduce.
These findings are reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a separate paper of the same issue of the journal, the researchers report that amphibians — like salamanders and frogs – seems too be able to adapt rapidly to environmental changes.