Researchers now describe how an overabundance of ground-level ozone can harm plant leaves, alter plants' flowering cycles, and make it more difficult for pollinators to locate blooms.
Pollination has been interrupted by rising ozone pollution levels over the past few decades, which has an impact on both the survival of plants and the animals that pollinate them. This investigation was released on September 29 in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Researchers explain how excessive levels of ground-level ozone can damage plant leaves, change the way flowers bloom, and keep pollinators away from blossoming areas.
Ozone gas has the potential to be both beneficial and harmful to the environment.In the stratosphere, 12 kilometres above sea level, ozone is a naturally occurring gas that helps protect the globe from harmful solar radiation. However, below that zone, ozone is a dangerous contaminant. Oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds interact photochemically to produce ozone gas at the troposphere-level. Oxides of nitrogen are produced when fossil fuels burn and are frequently found in products like paint and aerosols. As a result of climate change's favourable conditions for its development, the quantities of tropospheric ozone have been rising.
In contrast to quickly damaging plant leaves, ozone pollution can also discolour foliage and leave behind damage signs in a variety of colours and patterns. Damaged leaves find it difficult to photosynthesize and to provide the plant with the energy it requires to thrive. Plants expel their own volatile organic compounds, which act as chemical messengers for interplant communication and alert pollinators to the presence of a waiting bloom. The ozone pollution appears to be interfering with these chemical signals. Plant tissues may become less palatable to insects as a result of ozone pollution, create more chemicals that are harmful to insects that ingest them, and generally deteriorate.