Plants first colonized the land over 430 million years ago, having evolved from some of the most primitive forms of life. Since then, plants have played a major role in supplying the atmospheric oxygen we all need to survive. But how did plants evolve, how has their distribution and diversity been affected by changes in climate over millions of years – and how can these processes be studied?
The Evolution of Plants blends evidence from the fossil record and data from biomolecular studies to tell the story of plant evolution from the earliest forms of life to the present day. Focusing on the key events during the evolution of plants – from the colonization of land to the first forests, the emergence of seed plants to the evolution of flowering plants – its straightforward explanations and clear illustrations provide the reader with the most accessible introduction to plant evolution available.
With biome maps illustrating the global distribution of plants during the different periods of life on Earth, the book explains how the diversity of vegetation has changed in response to climate, reinforcing the close link between climate change and the process of biological evolution.
It is a contemporary account of a dynamic field, providing a broad, balanced introduction to the subject.