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Emissions Make Carnivorous Plants Go Vegan

From the Natural Environment Research Council:

Pollution makes carnivorous plants go vegetarian

8 June 2012, by Tom Marshall

Nitrogen pollution is giving carnivorous plants on Swedish bogs so many nutrients that they don’t need to catch as many flies, new research shows.

The common sundew drosera rotundifolia grows in rain-fed bogs across much of northern Europe. These habitats have few nutrients, so the plant needs to boost its nitrogen intake by trapping midges and other insects with its sticky leaves.

But human activities involving burning fossil fuels for transport and industry have greatly increased levels of nitrogen deposited by rainfall over these bogs, disturbing the specialised ecosystems that have grown up there.

A study published in New Phytologist shows that this artificial rain of fertiliser is now making carnivorous plants lose interest in insect prey. Plants in lightly-polluted areas got 57 per cent of their nitrogen from insects; in areas that receive more nitrogen deposition, that figure fell as low as 22 per cent.

‘If there’s plenty of nitrogen available to their roots, they don’t need to eat as much,’ explains Dr Jonathan Millett from Loughborough University, the report’s lead author. Instead, they rely more on nitrogen absorbed through their roots.

How did the plants manage this rapid shift in diet? Millett says earlier experiments have suggested they can make their leaves less sticky, trapping fewer prey. He adds that a colour change may also contribute; sundew plants in highly polluted bogs are much greener than those growing in nutrient-poor conditions. The latter typically have a red colour that’s believed to attract insects. He even suggests that looking at the colour of sundew plants could give ecologists a quick way to gauge how much nitrogen pollution an area has suffered…

And we used to think evolution took a long time. But, apparently, these plants are evolving faster than Mr. Obama evolved on ‘same sex marriage.’

Scientists have theorised that plants adopt the carnivorous lifestyle when they can’t get enough nitrogen through the more conventional means of absorbing it with their roots. Catching and eating insects provides another source of nitrogen, but it’s hardly an ideal solution.

Plants have to spend lots of energy on the specialised equipment; once a species has gone down this path, it finds it hard to compete with non-carnivorous rivals outside its favoured nitrogen-poor setting. These results lend support to that theory – when plants can get away with it, they scale back on their carnivorous activities

Which means all this human caused nitrogen is actually good news for the plants. So have we have found yet another unintended, but positive, consequence from burning fossil fuels. These bog plants are now going to have it much easier. Besides, isn’t it morally better to be a vegetarian rather than a carnivore?

But for some reason this study is not being reported as good news. Instead, we are going to hear about the danger of the extinction of meat eating plants.

Apparently, it’s okay for plants to eat meat. It’s only bad when humans do so.

Millett is now broadening his study to look at bogs in other areas, including Britain. The situation in Britain could be far more serious because of more heavy industry


This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Emissions Make Carnivorous Plants Go Vegan”

  1. GetBackJack says:


    Holy shiite … that is some desperate grasping at … methane, eh?

  2. yadayada says:

    wow ! the convoluted mental gymnastics one must endure to promote the global warming agenda.
    I wonder if the earth were still cold, would humans ever have evolved from their hairy primate ancesters?

    and then there are the mental gymnastics with evolution.

    if evolution is true….
    if survival of the fittest (natural selection) is the final word….
    then wouldn’t carnivorous plants be at the top of the food chain in their natural habitat?
    if they are, then why aren’t all the plants in that habitat carnivorous?

    biggest flaw in theory of evolution is trying to explain how some animals simply quit “evolving” while others in the same location and environment never stop.

    sharks — unchanged for XXX million years- perfect, no need to evolve…. so why are there dolphins?

    crocodilians — unchanged XX million – no need to evolve…. so why mammals?

    jellie fish — WTF ?!?!?

    so the big learned answer is usually something like;

    Evolution only occurs when it is necessary. Some apes evolved into man because either they moved to a new environment or their existing environment changed, making evolution necessary for survival. So, the apes who needed to adapt to their new environment through evolution to survive either did so or were wiped out (apparently, they changed, creating the human race), or stayed in a friendly environment, making evolution unnecessary and therefore, nonexistent (the apes in these conditions remained apes).

    fossile records prove they existed simultaneously in the same locations
    never any explanation as to why only some did/didn’t evolve.
    still just a theory
    theory = unproven hypothesis
    hypothesis = hypothetical supposition
    theory of evolution = hypothetical supposition simple math, really

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    When homosexuals start eating hetro’s, then and only then I might give this the beer eye.
    Sweet Jesus ……. Where do these Shiite heads grow?
    Utter bullshiite!!

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