B2 High-Intermediate US 1472 Folder Collection
After playing the video, you can click or select the word to look it up in the dictionary.
Report Subtitle Errors
In the 18th century,
Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus designed the flower clock,
a timepiece made of flowering plants
that bloom and close at specific times of day.
Linnaeus's plan wasn't perfect, but the idea behind it was correct.
Flowers can indeed sense time, after a fashion.
Morning glories unfurl their petals like clockwork in the early morning.
A closing white water lily signals that it's late afternoon,
and moon flowers, as the name suggests, only bloom under the night sky.
But what gives plants this innate sense of time?
It's not just plants, in fact.
Many organisms on Earth have a seemingly inherent awareness
of where they are in the day's cycle.
That's because of circadian rhythms,
the internal timekeepers that tick away inside many living things.
These biological clocks allow organisms to keep track of time
and pick up on environmental cues that help them adapt.
That's important, because the planet's rotations and revolutions
put us in a state of constant flux,
although it plays out in a repetitive, predictable way.
Circadian rhythms incorporate various cues
to regulate when an organism should wake and sleep,
and perform certain activities.
For plants, light and temperature are the cues which trigger reactions
that play out at a molecular scale.
The cells in stems, leaves, and flowers contain phytochromes,
tiny molecules that detect light.
When that happens, phytochromes initiate a chain of chemical reactions,
passing the message down into the cellular nuclei.
There, transcription factors trigger the manufacture of proteins
required to carry out light-dependent processes,
like photosynthesis.
These phytochromes not only sense the amount of light the plant receives,
but can also detect tiny differences
in the distribution of wavelengths the plant takes in.
With this fine-tuned sensing,
phytochromes allow the plant to discern both time,
the difference between the middle of the day and the evening,
and place, whether it is in direct sunlight or shade,
enabling the plant to match its chemical reactions to its environment.
This makes for early risers.
A few hours before sunrise, a typical plant is already active,
creating mRNA templates for its photosynthesizing machinery.
As the phytochromes detect increasing sunlight,
the plant readies its light-capturing molecules
so it can photosynthesize and grow throughout the morning.
After harvesting their morning light,
plants use the rest of the day to build long chains of energy
in the form of glucose polymers, like starch.
The sun sets, and the day's work is done,
though a plant is anything but inactive at night.
In the absence of sunlight,
they metabolize and grow,
breaking down the starch from the previous day's energy harvest.
Many plants have seasonal rhythms as well.
As spring melts the winter frost,
phytochromes sense the longer days and increasing light,
and a currently unknown mechanism detects the temperature change.
These systems pass the news throughout the plant
and make it produce blooming flowers
in preparation for the pollinators brought out by warmer weather.
Circadian rhythms act as a link between a plant and its environment.
These oscillations come from the plants themselves.
Each one has a default rhythm.
Even so, these clocks can adapt their oscillations
to environmental changes and cues.
On a planet that's in constant flux,
it's the circadian rhythms that enable a plant to stay true to its schedule
and to keep its own time.
    You must  Log in  to get the function.
Tip: Click on the article or the word in the subtitle to get translation quickly!


【TED-Ed】How plants tell time - Dasha Savage

1472 Folder Collection
周興文 published on June 14, 2015
More Recommended Videos
  1. 1. Search word

    Select word on the caption to look it up in the dictionary!

  2. 2. Repeat single sentence

    Repeat the same sentence to enhance listening ability

  3. 3. Shortcut


  4. 4. Close caption

    Close the English caption

  5. 5. Embed

    Embed the video to your blog

  6. 6. Unfold

    Hide right panel

  1. Listening Quiz

    Listening Quiz!

  1. Click to open your notebook

  1. UrbanDictionary 俚語字典整合查詢。一般字典查詢不到你滿意的解譯,不妨使用「俚語字典」,或許會讓你有滿意的答案喔