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Survival Strategies of Aquatic & Wetland Plants

by Victoria I. Sullivan

Illustrations by Susan E. Elliott

Flooding is a serious problem for plants. As with humans, when plants (and plant roots, in particular) that normally live out of water are submerged underwater, they suffocate. But plants that naturally live in wet places don’t die! How are they able to survive in water when upland plants cannot? Sullivan explains how water plants have adapted strategies for overcoming the hazardous conditions of living in water.

Why Water Plants Don’t Drown begins with an introduction to the basic biological and ecological requirements of all plants (gas exchange, exposure to light, structural support, and reproduction). Sullivan goes on to describe how aquatic plants (Divers, Floaters, and Floating-Leaf Plants) meet those requirements. The second part of the book covers emergent wetland plants, which Sullivan refers to as Waders (plants that only get their “feet” wet).

Adaptations for living in the water evolved at different times and from unrelated groups of upland plants. Sullivan’s clear explanations and Elliott’s lively illustrations make it effortless and fun to understand how plants adapted to living in water. Sullivan draws from her years of teaching and field experience to illuminate fascinating biological details of the many example species she includes for each category of water plants.

The intriguing insights and colorful artistic interpretations will make any nature enthusiast eager to explore aquatic and wetland plant ecology.

A new flower species, Eupatorium sullivaniae will be named after Victoria I. Sullivan, crediting her extensive scientific research on the Eupatorium genus.
“In Vickie’s speculative fiction book, Adoption, her heroine is featured as a superhuman, a character who was created by Vickie using her research on the genetics of polyploidy plants that have multiple sets of chromosomes.”—A Word’s Worth

VICTORIA I. SULLIVAN is a writer and botanist. She studied biology at the University of Miami and has a Ph.D. in biology from Florida State University. She held a faculty position in the Department of Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette for 20 years. She has published poetry, flash fiction, numerous botanical papers and other nonfiction, and most recently, the speculative novel, Adoption. Sullivan is a resident of Sewanee, Tennessee. She winters in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Visit The Polyploids by Victoria I. Sullivan

SUSAN ELIZABETH ELLIOTT is an artist, ecologist, and writer. She studied botany and French at Humboldt State University and has a Ph.D. in biology from Dartmouth College. She has published fiction and non-fiction, and her watercolors are showcased in Open the Gates: Poems for Young Readers by Dabney Stuart. Elliott lives and works in the Colorado Rockies.






Spatterdock and Lotus.pdf

Open the Gates, Poems for Young Readers by Dabney Stuart (2010): Stuart's love for the animals that inhabit the earth pulse through this new collection, accompanied by wildly vivid watercolor paintings (8"x10" paperback, full color, 92 pages, $27.00).


Adoption (2010): A speculative novel about the development of a race of polyploid humans (6"x9" paperback, 172 pages,


Spilled Milk, Haiku Destinies by Gary Hotham (2010): A decade of new poems by a haiku master, accompanied by bamboo and bird Sumi-E paintings (5.25"x8" paperback, black and white, 144 pages, $15.00).

August 29, 2012 A Word’s Worth Author Interview:
Learn about the book’s naissance, aquatic and wetland plant ecology, coastal wetland conservation, and more! Read the Full Interview
August 29, 2012 A Word’s Worth Author Interview:
Learn about the book’s naissance, aquatic and wetland plant ecology, coastal wetland conservation, and more! Read the Full Interview


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