Scientists Find Global Warming Could Ruin The Smell Of Roses

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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A new study found global warming could make it harder for people to ‘smell the roses,’ as projected global temperature increases may mean flowers give off less of a scent than they do today.

“Increases in temperature associated with the changing global climate are interfering with plant-pollinator mutualism, an interaction facilitated mainly by floral color and scent,” Alon Can’ani, a PhD student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a statement on his research.

Can’ani claims that this reduction in the smell of flowers — a main way they attract pollinators — could have a detrimental effect on ‘plant-pollinator mutualism.’

But Can’ani also says there is a way to stop this from happening, by manipulating certain genes within a particular flower. Gene manipulation of flowers could feasibly help flowers maintain the scent properties that make them targets of pollinators and keep flora healthy.

Plants use their scents not only to attract pollinators, but also as a defense mechanism. When a plants leaves are injured it releases a compound that alerts predators of herbivores to the scene; like calling in security. A predator gets a chemical signal that an herbivore in currently on the scene, and while the predator gets lunch, the plant lives to pollinate another day. A lesson in natural symbiosis.

A different study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, states the exact opposite.

“Over the past 30 decades, higher global temperatures have increased emissions of the compounds by 10 percent”, according to the study. “An increase in temperature of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius could lead to a further 30 to 45 percent increase.”

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