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在沙漠中建立了一个完整生态系统的甜瓜

This Melon Builds a Whole Ecosystem in the Desert

Thanks to Brilliant for supporting this episode of SciShow.
感谢Brilliant对本期《科学秀》的支持
Go to Brilliant.org/SciShow to learn how
登录Brilliant. org/SciShow了解
you can take your STEM skills to the next level!
如何提高你的STEM技能!
[♪intro♫]
[开场曲]
基本概况
It’s not easy to live in southern Africa’s Namib Desert.
在非洲南部的纳米比沙漠生活并不容易
It’s one of the oldest and driest deserts in the world,
它是世界上最古老以及最干燥的沙漠之一
and many of the plants and animals that survive there
许多生活在此的动植物都有着奇特的适应性
have bizarre adaptations—and are only found in this desert.
且只在这片沙漠中发现过
One of these is the nara melon,
奈良瓜便是其中之一
which not only builds its own habitat in this harsh environment,
不仅在这种恶劣的环境中建立自己的栖息地
but also forms the base of a whole desert ecosystem.
而且构成了沙漠完整生态系统的基础
Deserts aren’t known for being the coziest habitats,
沙漠并不以最舒适的栖息地而闻名
but even so, the Namib is extreme.
但即使如此 纳米比沙漠也是极端恶劣的
It’s been around for at least 55 million years,
它已经至少存在了5500万年了
and it’s been hyper-arid—or extremely dry
而过去的500万年里甚至更久
—for the last five million or more.
它都处于极度干旱或干燥的状态
It has an average annual rainfall of just ten centimeters,
年平均降水量仅有10厘米
and sometimes years pass without any rain at all.
有时几年都不下雨
As a result, the sandy, dry soil gets easily blown around by the desert’s strong winds,
因此 干燥的沙质土壤很容易被沙漠强风吹走
and it contains very little of the nutrients plants need to grow.
而且它只含有非常少量植物生长所需的营养
Even so, there are plants here
即便如此 这里还是有植物的
—and the nara plant does so well
且奈良的植物在此生长很好
that it grows a melon—a big, juicy fruit—in the desert!
以至竟然长出了瓜 一种果大多汁的水果!
It’s the only plant that grows fruit in the whole region,
它是整个地区唯一能结果的植物
and to pull it off, it has to be extremely resourceful.
要做到这点 它必须足够有智慧
The nara plant creates its own stable habitat
奈良植物通过堆沙子筑成小丘
by building a mound of sand called a hummock.
来建立自己的稳定的栖息地
Initially, its seeds sprout on flat land,
最初它的种子在平地上发芽
but as the plant grows, grains of sand and organic material
但随着生长 沙粒和有机物质
get blown around it and cover up the bottom layer.
会被吹落在其周围并覆盖在底部表层
That gives the plant a strong anchor in the sand,
这让奈良植物在沙地中有了坚固的锚
while the top layers keep photosynthesis going.
同时顶部继续做光合作用
Over time, these hummocks can get up to ten meters high and 40 meters across!
这些小丘随时间推移可高达10米 宽达40米!
Scientists haven’t studied nara hummocks in depth,
科学家没有深入研究奈良瓜形成的小丘
but they can draw conclusions about them based on what they know
但他们可以根据对智利阿塔卡马沙漠
about plant species in Chile’s Atacama Desert that use a similar strategy.
使用类似策略的植物种类的了解来得出结论
The sand mounds they build capture organic matter
它们筑起的沙堆能捕捉风吹来的
blowing around in the wind as well as moisture from fog,
有机物以及雾气中的水分
both of which help nourish the plants’ growth in the sandy soil.
这两种物质都能帮助植物在沙土中生长
So nara hummocks may play a similar role.
所以奈良小丘可能起到了类似的作用
But the plant itself also has some incredible adaptations.
但这种植物本身就有一些惊人的适应性
For one, its roots go as much as 50 meters below the sand,
首先 它的根可以深至沙子下面50米
where they can pull up groundwater.
并能抽取到地下水
Scientists also think it’s possible that the plant harvests water
科学家们还认为这种植物可能从
from fog that rolls in from the coast.
海岸飘来的雾中获取水分
Little cone-shaped spines all over the plant
遍布植物的圆锥形刺可以帮助
may help concentrate the fog into dew-like droplets,
把雾集中成露珠状的水滴
which either get absorbed directly
它们要么被直接吸收
or run down grooves in the stem into the ground below.
要么顺着茎上的凹槽流向地下
Then, to avoid losing water in the super-dry air,
然后为了避免水分在极度干燥的空气中流失
the plant has just… done away with leaves,
植物就把会因蒸发而失去
which lose a lot of water to evaporation.
大量水分的叶子去掉了
Instead, its green stems and spikes take care of its photosynthesis.
它的绿色茎和穗状茎代替负责光合作用
With these tricks, scientists estimate that
科学家估计奈良植物有了这些技巧
nara plants can live more than a century,
可以活过一个世纪
including years without rain.
包括不下雨的年份
But they don’t just survive
它不仅能生存下来
—they also make the desert more livable for a lot of other creatures.
还能让沙漠变得更适宜许多其他生物居住
At least 26 vertebrate species depend on the plant
至少有26种脊椎动物包括豺 羚羊和老鼠
for shade, water, or food, including jackals, antelope, and mice.
依靠奈良瓜获得荫蔽 水源或食物
Beneath the plant, microbial communities also flourish in the nara’s shade
微生物群落也在奈良瓜下的阴凉处生长
and provide the plant with vital nutrients in return.
又反为植物提供重要的营养
And to this day, the people who live in the region
时至今日 该地区的人们仍然依靠
depend on these melons and seeds for food and income.
奈良瓜和种子获得食物和收入
Yet, as hardy as these melons are,
然而 尽管这些瓜很耐旱
they won’t survive if you try to grow them yourself,
如果你想自己种植 是养不活它们的
and scientists don’t quite know why.
科学家也不知道为什么
Maybe they’ve just carved out a niche that’s too specific to replicate.
也许因为它们开辟了一个特定而无法复制的生态位
So for now, they remain a unique element of the Namib desert ecosystem!
所以它们到现在依然是纳米比沙漠生态系统的独特元素!
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow!
感谢收看本期《科学秀》!
And thanks to Brilliant for sponsoring it.
感谢Brilliant对本期的赞助
If you want to freshen up your STEM skills or learn something new,
如果你想更新你的STEM技能或学些新东西
Brilliant has dozens of courses you can explore.
Brilliant有数十个你可以探索的课程
For instance, they just added a brand-new course in math history,
比如 他们才增加了一门全新的数学历史课程
which is designed to help you learn math alongside the people who discovered it.
旨在帮助你同发现数学的人一起学数学
The courses are made by educators from institutions
该课程由来自麻省理工学院 加州理工学院
like MIT, Caltech, and Duke,
和杜克大学的教育工作者制作
and they’re designed with interactive quizzes and guided problems.
设计有互动测试和引导问题
With a Premium subscription, you can access Brilliant’s entire library of courses,
通过付费订阅 你可以访Brilliant的整个课程库
and if you’re one of the first 200 people to sign up at Brilliant.org/SciShow,
如果你是前200名注册Brilliant.org/SciShow的用户
you’ll get 20% off the annual subscription.
年费会员可打八折哦
[♪outro♫]
[片尾曲]

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视频概述

奈良瓜是如何在与奈良截然不同的环境——极度干旱的纳米比沙漠中适应生存下来的?以及如何建立起一个生态系统?

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翻译译者

dysania_y

审核员

审核员MS

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJk7wAUMXGw

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