Frozen plants from Little Ice Age revived
Scientists were amazed to find that the 400-year-old plants known as bryophytes showed new growth under laboratory conditions.
The researchers are studying Teardrop Glacier region high in the Canadian Arctic which is receding at rates that have sharply accelerated since 2004, at about 3-4m per year.
The area had been under ice cover since the Little Ice Age- a widespread climatic cooling that ran roughly from AD 1550 to AD 1850. But changes in the environment have led to melting of glaciers which has given researchers an opportunity to explore the hitherto unknown forms of organisms.
The current revival of life in bryophytes would help us understand how ecosystems recover from the planet’s cyclic long periods of ice coverage.
What are Bryophytes?
Bryophyte is a traditional name used to refer to all embryophytes (land plants) that do not have true vascular tissue and are therefore called “non-vascular plants”.Some bryophytes do have specialized tissues for the transport of water; however since these do not contain lignin, they are not considered to be true vascular tissue.