Posidonia oceanica: the oldest living thing on the planet|Seabed Abysmal

Spectacular abyssal creatures and beings that are suspected to inhabit the marine depths.

February 15, 2012

Posidonia oceanica: the oldest living thing on the planet

                                           

A group of scientists has found in the Mediterranean to the oldest living thing known.This is the species Posidonia oceanica, one of the few marine higher plants can live up to 200,000 years. So far, the record had it a kind of bush Tasmania with more than 43,000 years.

Along the Mediterranean can be found seagrass meadows of great extent, in some places to occupy more than 15 kilometers.

These meadows are formed by a single genetic lineage, which means that all plants are actually clones of the first to be settled.

To calculate the age of the plant genome has been sequenced and studied their growth. As the article says, this plant grows very slowly, about an inch each year.

In order to occupy the area present the first issue would have to be at least 12,500 years. More realistic estimates put it at the 200,000 years.

This is so for two reasons. First, the seagrass is able to reproduce vegetatively. Small fragments of the plant stem portions generally, can result in complete plants through the same mechanism that allows many plant cuttings gardening.

The second reason is due to its rhizome, an underground stem in which food accumulates and grows horizontally, parallel to the ground. Rhizome exits this stems, allowing the plant extends over a much larger area.
Generally, these rhizomes are just starting and separating, but plants that have formed are maintained. And these plants are actually clones of each other.

The importance of Posidonia oceanica can not only for being the longest living organism. It is a fundamental part of the ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, as it helps to establish the substrate on which other species live, work performed water purification and provide food for many species, to name some of the environmental services it offers.

The researchers have used to highlight another fact: the Posidonia is declining. The increase in temperature and water acidity is affecting a lot to this species.

Moreover, the propellers of the boats, especially pleasure, is reaping these meadows as if it were grass.

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