History and Natural History of Plants and Their Associates

  • Makoto KatoEmail author
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


Life on Earth originated in the sea; thus, land is a frontier for aquatic organisms. Although colonization of land by plants occurred in the Ordovician about 450 million years ago (ma; Field et al. 2015), aquatic microorganisms colonized land as early as 3500 mya (Beraldi-Campesi 2013). When aquatic microorganisms (including cyanobacteria) headed to land, they encountered adverse terrestrial conditions such as drought, extreme diurnal and seasonal temperature changes, low nutrient supply, and strong sunlight. These microorganisms are considered to have achieved terrestrialization by developing a tough, pigmented cell wall, an agglutinated colony structure, and a symbiotic lifestyle. Although modern lichens are associations of internal algae with external advanced fungi belonging to Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes, colonylike associations of microorganisms, including basal algae and fungi, are thought to have colonized land before the Phanerozoic. Colonization of terrestrial habitats by photosynthesizing multicellular organisms occurred in a clade of green plants containing chlorophyll a and b (Delaux et al. 2012). The order Charales in the division Charophyte adapted to life in ephemeral freshwater pools, which frequently dry up. The body of the Charales is a monoploid gametophyte and comprises a main axis and lateral branchlets occurring in whorls on each node of the axis (Fig. 2.1). The reproductive organs consist of the nucleus (i.e., archegonia-producing ova) and globules (i.e., antheridia-producing flagellate sperm; Fig. 2.2). The sperm swim to the archegonium and fertilize the ovum. The zygote develops into an oospore, which is protected by its tough cell wall containing an unusually stable polymer, sporopollenin. The oospore can resist desiccation by remaining in a dormant state, and undergoes meiosis before germination of protonema. Another charophyte order, Coleochaetales, is a parenchymatous disclike alga that grows on substrata in waterfront habitats (Fig. 2.1). In the Coleochaete, plural meiospores are produced from a zygote, suggesting that embryos are protected and nourished in maternal tissue (Graham and Wilcox 2000).


Terrestrialization Tracheophyte Mycorrhiza Origin of pollination Angiosperm diversification Bee Seed dispersal Bird Mammal Cultivation mutualism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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