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23.3: Selection Pressures and Drivers

  • Page ID
    29612
    1. Competition for space. Present day gymnosperms include the tallest, most massive, and some of the oldest organisms on the planet. With this in mind, you can imagine that they would be difficult to compete with. Angiosperms needed to evolve more efficient methods of transporting water and photosynthates, fertilization, and survival of offspring.
    2. Insects and birds. The primary response to insects that we see in gymnosperms is prevention of herbivory. While herbivory is still a driver of selection for angiosperms, insects also served as a more efficient method of pollen delivery. Insects and birds could be lured in with sugary nectar or scents and colors that mimicked other resources, then dusted with pollen as they investigated. If the lures were specialized enough, they would continue seeking the same resource, leading them to another plant of the same species. These scents, colors, and nectar resources were produced by structures that also produced pollen and ovules -- the flower.

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