Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ballerina Forest 4: Out on a Limb

At the end of each group of nereids I put together a little page about their common habitat. I've finally done so with the ballerina forest, an environment that shares traits with to both temperate and boreal forests, along with its own unique features.

There is precedent on Earth for rapidly moving plants, whether it's to trap insect prey or to protect leaves. There is also precedent on Nereus for rapid movement, given the tension-based methods of seed dispersal among many ballistaflor clades. However, nothing on Earth or nereus matches the scale or versatility of that exhibited by coryphee trees. Vascular chambers that run the length of the branches control their turgor, or overall rigidity, and tensile fibers help to support their extended weight and to return back to a neutral closed position. Mechanically, the concept seems to make sense, and nothing too obvious seems to contradict it, so I ran with the idea.

But my research into this feature was not extensive, and at some future point I may have to refine or completely remove this life form from the nereophyte cladogram, a disorganized jumble of clades that aren't nearly as ironed out as the nereozoans. Plant research for this project hasn't been nearly as extensive, mostly because I've mostly only used them as unique (and possibly fantastic) backdrops for my aliens. Any experts out there are welcome to analyze the coryphee as I've described them to help me understand how they work... or how they don't. ;)