Carbon Dioxide Increases Causing Fewer Pores in Plants, Less Water to Atmosphere

According to scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, as carbon dioxide levels have dropped over the past 150 years, the density of pores that allow plants to breathe has dwindled by 34 percent. This in turn restricts the amount of water vapor the plants release to the atmosphere. These findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists gathered their data from a diversity of plant species, including living individuals as well as samples extracted from herbarium collections and peat formations 100 to 150 years old. "The increase in carbon dioxide by about 100 parts per million has had a profound effect on the number of stomata and, to a lesser extent, the size of the stomata," said Research Scientist in Biology and Professor Emeritus in Geology David Dilcher, the two papers' sole American coauthor. "Our analysis of that structural change shows there's been a huge reduction in the release of water to the atmosphere."