So this weekend, like many in the Northeast of the United States I experience pretty heavy snow (considering it was October any snow could be considered heavy). Now with every snow storm tree limbs come down, it’s a bit of a given but this time there were many more, causing power outages and property damage. Now this got me to thinking about something that I love evolution and adaptation. In this case tree adaptation, many of the trees that were damaged this weekend were trees that have survived plenty of winters before, so what made this different? The leaves is my guess (or hypothesis, if you will).
Normally, when the heavy snows come there are only needles on the conifers and the deciduous trees have all gone bare. It wasn’t until today that I saw another adaptation to the losing of leaves, the main one being that during winter there is less light and it is not energetically efficient to maintain the tissue all year long. However, let’s leave that adaptation for a few minutes and think about surface area, which the factor that really comes into play here. Now, when there is snow normally, very little snow actually gets caught on the leaves, the branches get a little but really its minimal. This makes me think that a major reason that trees lose leaves in winter is to avoid limb breakage.
What’s the point of this story, well its two fold. One examples of adaptation of everyone and this is evidence of evolution so people need to realize it’s a true and natural process so stop saying otherwise everyone who is does that and two everyday we can think and science with simple things and this makes it all the more real and life more interesting.