Cover photo is for illustrative purposes only

Amid climate change, biologists at the University of Miami are working to preserve the future of some of the world's rarest plants using fire. These biologists are using controlled burns to test these plants' resistance to stress in a changing environment. They hope to unlock the secrets behind plant survival in an uncertain future.

Daniel Revillini, a post-doc researcher at UM, has been tirelessly planting thousands of seeds in tiny pots at the Cox Science Building of the university, according to Maya Bell for News at the U

According to Bell, Revellini is working toward unraveling the mystery of some of the rarest plants on Earth. These plants are native to Central Florida's Lake Wales Ridge, which is home to dozens of plant species found nowhere else on Earth, and has been deeply affected by climate change. Despite all odds, about 80 species of rare plants in the Lake Wales Ridge are thriving today. 

How are these plants able to survive? Researchers think microbes are the answer. Hypericum cumulicola, a rare kind of St. John’s wort growing around Lake Wales Ridge, depends on microbes to live.

You can see Lake Wales Ridge below:

Researchers are using fire to test this microbial theory. They are setting controlled burns at Archbold Biological Station in Lake Wales Ridge to study the resistance of microbes in these plants to fire and a changing environment. 

Their work is ongoing, UM researchers like Revellini hope to eventually discover why and how rare plants in Florida are able to survive in a rapidly changing world, and how they can use this information to preserve the future of these plants, according to Bell.

For more information on the work being done at the University of Miami, check out these articles on a disaster simulation course and a shark professor at the university.

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