• Dorothea BartelsEmail author
  • Ulrich Lüttge
  • Erwin Beck
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 215)


Evolution of life on earth began in aqueous environments. The oldest fossil records of green photosynthesizing organisms are the stromatolithes of cyanobacteria-like organisms about 3.5 × 109 years old. One of the major problems organisms were facing when leaving the water and conquering the land 400 × 106 years ago in the Devonian was exposure to a dry atmosphere. Among the present land plants, we observe a wealth of structural and functional adaptations suitable for shaping the water relations appropriate for life under such conditions. However, even plants in the aqueous habitats may have been subject to dry periods given by tidal rhythms or temporary drying out of their aqueous habitat. As primary water plants and not having evolutionary adaptations, these organisms needed to acclimate to dehydration conditions, the most extreme one of which is survival of desiccation, i.e. the loss of most of the cellular water.


Vascular Plant Aqueous Habitat Desiccation Tolerance Resurrection Plant Nelumbo Nucifera 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and Plant BiotechnologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Botany, Department of BiologyTechnical University of DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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