French scientists have discovered that tiny crustaceans pollinate red algae on our beaches. This is the first known instance of an animal helping algae reproduce.
The process of terrestrial pollination is well known. However, under the sea, plant reproduction remains a mystery. For the first time, scientists have discovered that tiny insects help pollinate algae. Explanations.
According to one study, a small crustacean, idotea (Idotia baltica), one species in particular can act as a “sea bee” for red algae: Gracilaria gracilis. The work was carried out by Sorbonne University doctoral student Emma Lavat and geneticist Miriam Valero. CNRSPublished in the journal science July 28, 2022.
Aidoti is an isopod that lives on algae, especially red algae.
\ud83d\udc1d In Roscoff, researchers discovered a sea bee called Idoty that pollinates the marine environment and its red algae! \u2764\ufe0f (Science Review) pic.twitter.com/GnvHLoBIoR
— Positive Media \ud83c\udf40 (@LMPositif) August 5, 2022
Until now, scientists thought that the reproduction of these red algae was due to water movement. When they found large numbers of these iodota among the algae, they wondered if these crustaceans were playing a role as pollinators.
Fast fertilization thanks to isoties
To test their hypothesis, the researchers placed male and female algae in tanks 15 cm apart. Half the tanks had small crustaceans, the others did not. About twenty times more fertilization occurred in tanks with isopods. The spore, which may be associated with the pollen, covers the body of the little fools.
Flowering marine plants were known to use invertebrates and marine land plants for their reproduction. But this discovery for algae is new.
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