“Adaptation is one of the hardest questions to answer in evolutionary biology...but now, we can theoretically explain why a pappus has this number of filaments, and that’s really exciting.”. We have the best simulations ever in the products of evolution.”. We’re not quite ready to deploy those tactics just yet. Mowing the plants and cutting the blooms before the seeds have fully matured can slow the spread of dandelions. ... dandelion seeds and other types of wind-dispersed seeds … Mainly caused by updrafts, in the simulations more than 0.05 % of dandelion seeds were dispersed beyond 100 m, a distance commonly used to define LDD. In the meantime, there are still exciting opportunities to study some marvels of innovation right here on Earth: Many other plants spread their seed by wind; even some animals have evolved specialized structures that help them navigate through air or water. At some point or another, most of us have played travel agent to a dandelion. In the laboratory, researchers showed that building a low-porosity miniature parachute leads to a destabilizing of this STV, and hence a turning moment causing the fruit to spin. ScienceDaily. Dispersal Mechanisms: Seeds can be dispersed long distances by wind because they move in updrafts. Investigators reveal why, at low Reynolds numbers, the rules for big parachutes don't apply to small dandelions. That's because those seeds may lend key insights into the physics of parachutes, useful for designing small drones, or micro air vehicles (MAVs). With two recent studies, the physics behind dandelion seed dispersal is now taking flight. "The reality is very different: the dandelion's flight capacity is enhanced by a 'neighbouring effect' of nearby filaments, which act together to generate a separated toroidal vortex (STV) in the wake of the dandelion," Cummins said. Image Credit: Courtesy of Cathal Cummins, Madeleine Seale, Enrico Mastropaolo, Ignazio Maria Viola, and Naomi Nakayama, Unless, that is, we fiddle with one pesky constraint: gravity itself. However, new research finds a … Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader: Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks: Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Although the physics and design rules of human-made parachutes are well-understood, until the Edinburgh team's effort, the flow around the miniature parachute of the dandelion was not. Fun fact: Each unit of a dandelion is actually home to hundreds of individual flowers clustered together. The answer, according to research team member Cathal Cummins, is in the vortex. Zebra Finches Unmask the Bird Behind the Song, Most Effective Strategies to Cut COVID-19 Spread, Memory 'Fingerprints' Reveal Brain Organization, Geology at Mars' Equator: Ancient Megaflood, Healthy Sleep Habits Cut Risk of Heart Failure, NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 Astronauts Headed to ISS, Predicting How Native Plants Return to Abandoned Farm Fields, Drones Give Scientists a New Self-Service Approach, Dandelion Uses Latex to Protect Its Roots Against Insect Feeding, COVID-19 False Negative Test Results If Used Too Early, Supersized Wind Turbines Generate Clean Energy--and Surprising Physics, Plant Evolves to Stay Hidden from Harvesting Humans, Blue-Eyed Humans Have a Single, Common Ancestor, Ancient Blanket Made With 11,500 Turkey Feathers, T. Rex Had Huge Growth Spurts, but Other Dinos Grew Slow and Steady, Largest Aggregation of Fishes in Abyssal Deep Sea, Very Hungry and Angry, Caterpillars Head-Butt to Get What They Want, The Secret Social Lives of Giant Poisonous Rats, Truffle Munching Wallabies Shed New Light on Forest Conservation, Geoscientists Discover Ancestral Puebloans Survived from Ice Melt in New Mexico Lava Tubes, Large Predatory Fish Thrive on WWII Shipwrecks Off North Carolina Coast. Seed dispersal allows plants to spread out from a wide area and avoid competing with one another for the same resources. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust. Dandelion seeds illustrate perfectly the role the wind plays in distributing certain types of seeds across the landscape. We conclude that long‐distance dispersal of seeds of herbaceous species with falling velocities < 0.5 ‐ … But because the pappus is porous, some air flows through it instead, streaming between the bristles of the seed’s thin toupee. The physics behind dandelion seed plume dispersal revealed. And dandelion seeds, it would seem, have a knack for turning nothing into a whole lotta something. Image Credit: Bess Hamitii, Shutterstock. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. The fluffy dandelion seed head -- that gauzy, white sphere that is really a cluster of seeds on wispy filaments -- infuriates gardeners, but delights physicists. The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers. But the theoretical model does more than add credence the first paper’s experimentally-driven results, Seale says. With wind dispersal, the seeds are simply blown about and land in all kinds of places. Materials provided by American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. Longevity: Dandelion seeds are not long lived in the soil. We humans (and most of the things we buy) are far too big and bulky for the same physical principles to apply. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171120090045.htm (accessed November 29, 2020). Each dandelion seed head can contain dozen of these many single-seeded achenes. American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics.