| Red-Crowned Spikeyshrub |
16/105, Anti-Sticky Plague
|Size|| 1 cm Wide individuals |
up to 130 cm Long colonies
|Reproduction||Asexual Budding, Very Resistant Spores|
|Descendant of||Ancestor of|
The spikeyshrub has split from it’s ancestor to exploit the relatively un-inhabited Biocat River. It lives in the shallows of the river. Because the river is so salty, every cell has evolved to be able to absorb water to get as much of it as it can. Specialized cells at the top of the plant (red) produce chemicals (that were used as defense by it’s ancestor) to produce a more negative water potential inside it's cells than outside, resulting in water traveling into the cells from the river by osmosis. To prevent a build up of produced chemicals, there is a constant active transport motion at the base of the shrub by specialist cells that maintains a constant concentration gradient.
The idea of this plant comes from the fact that water will always cross a permeable membrane if the solution on the other side is more concentrated with molecules (a more negative water potential). The plant now has cells specialized for the production of the chemicals it's ancestor used. These chemicals travel to the base of the plant that sits in water. The chemicals cause the cell's water potential to be lower than the outside salty solution, so water moves into the cell by osmosis, leaving the salt behind. Because there is a constant flow of minerals from the top (Water potential is lowest at the top and rises as you get down the plant) water travels through the cells upwards. This is how it is able to survive in this harsh environment. Due to this specialized way of living, the shrubs are extremely successful and line the river’s shore.