Underwater Pollination Has Been Confirmed As A Reality

Underwater Pollination Has Been Confirmed As A Reality

We have all heard of flying insects that pollinate different plants. There are also plenty of non-flying insects that pollinate plant life. But what about plants that are located on the ocean floor? Do these plants need to be pollinated? Are there bee-like insects in the ocean as well?

For the first time in history scientists have good evidence to suggest that there are indeed pollinating animals that dwell within the ocean. Furthermore, these animals are like bees for the sea in that they pollinate the ocean flora. While these underwater pollinators are not bees, they are arthropods, and more specifically, they are crustaceans.

A research team led by Brigitta van Tussenbroek at the National Autonomous University of Mexico shot footage of small invertebrate animals moving through a bed of turtle grass located on the seafloor. The researchers noted how similar this scene was to the images of bees pollinating flowers. The little sea creatures only went after male plants. After the creatures dispersed, the researchers took samples of the water near the plants. As it turns out, the creatures moved pollen in between plants.

This finding was initially a surprise since experts have long assumed that undersea pollination occurs as a result of moving ocean currents. The researchers brought these small arthropods into the laboratory in order to recreate the pollination process. The team succeeded in demonstrating that these marine crustaceans contribute to undersea pollination.

Once the crustaceans began moving on the turtle grass, pollen soon appeared on the stigmas of female turtle grass plants. Also, pollen was found within the digestive tracts of a few crustaceans that were analyzed. However, the researchers noted that ocean currents are still a major contributor to undersea plant pollination. The researchers are still unsure as to how much the crustaceans contribute to the undersea pollination process, but they are definitely a part of the process.

Have you ever wondered how undersea plants become pollinated?

 

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