Stomata (1 of 3) Function
Carbon dioxide enters, while water and oxygen exit, through a leaf's stomata. Stomata control a tradeoff for the plant: they allow carbon dioxide in, but they also let precious water escape.
Stomata (2 of 3) Tradeoff
Levels of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere change over time — so at times when the atmosphere is carbon-dioxide-rich, plants can get away with having fewer stomata since each individual stoma will be able to bring in more carbon dioxide. During those high-carbon-dioxide times, plants with fewer stomata will have an advantage and will be common. On the other hand, when carbon dioxide levels are low, plants need many stomata in order to scrape together enough carbon dioxide to survive. During low-carbon-dioxide times, plants with more stomata will have an advantage and will be common.