Forest Floor

Birds Go Truffling

Truffles are underground fruiting bodies, i.e. reproductive structures, of fungi that live in a symbiotic relationship with trees. They have been described as underground mushrooms. They produce spores, but unlike mushrooms and toadstools they cannot release them into the air in order to be dispersed to a new location, where they can grow. Therefore, truffles […]

Read More
Seagrass

Seagrass Symbiosis

Seagrasses are not seaweed. They are flowering plants, just like grasses that grow on land, but they grow on the sea beds in shallow coastal waters, and form an important food source and habitat for many sea creatures. Like land plants they need a good supply of nitrogen to grow well, and plants can usually […]

Read More
Macadamia Nuts

Why Are Nuts Hard to Crack?

Why are nuts hard to crack? This question is answered in reports in Science (AAAS) News, 10 August 2021, Royal Society Open Science 11 August 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210399 and Advanced Materials 20 October 2020, 10.1002/adma.202004519. Over the last few years Notburga Gierlinger, a biophysicist at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and colleagues […]

Read More

Hitchhiking Microbes Protect Plants and People

Hitchhiking microbes protect plants and people, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 22 March 2021, and The ISME Journal, 15 March 2021. Doi 10.1038/s41396-021-00952-8.  Soil dwelling bacteria known Streptomyces are known to colonise plant roots and protect plants from damage by other microbes by producing antibiotics.  Many of these antibiotics are also used in […]

Read More
Sunlight on Leaves

Photosynthesis “Old as Life”

Photosynthesis “old as life”, according to articles in Imperial College London News 16 March 2021 and ScienceDaily 24 March 2021, and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Bioenergetics, published online 19 February 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2021.148400.  The oxygen producing process of photosynthesis in green plants, algae and cyanobacteria begins with water molecules being split by an […]

Read More
Street Trees

Street Trees Reduce Depression

Street trees reduce depression, according to Science Alert 30 January 2021 and Scientific Reports 31 December 2020 doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79924-5.  A group of researchers in Germany “analysed the association of street tree density and species richness with antidepressant prescribing for 9751 inhabitants of Leipzig, Germany.  They found “for individuals with low socio-economic status, high density of […]

Read More
Eucalyptus Blossom

Oldest Fossil Eucalyptus Flower With Pollen

Oldest fossil Eucalyptus flower with pollen found, according to Botany One 20 January 2021 and American Journal of Botany 3 December 2020 doi:10.1002/ajb2.1569. Usually regarded as an Aussie Icon, the Gum Trees or Eucalypt family have produced several fossil surprises from other countries. Scientists have now studied the preserved pollen of a new species of […]

Read More
Arctic Tundra

Arctic Goes Greener

Arctic goes greener from 1985 reports Nature Research Highlights 22 September 2020 and NASA News 23 September 2020, and Nature Communications 22 September 2020 doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18479-5. A group of scientists at Northern Arizona University have studied changes in vegetation of the whole Arctic Tundra, from Alaska and Canada to Siberia, using satellite data from Landsat, […]

Read More
Lemon Tree

Citrus Thorny Problem Solved

Citrus thorny problem solved, according to ScienceDaily 18 June 2020, and Current Biology 18 June 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.05.068. Thorns on citrus trees are well known to form when branches start to develop, but stop growing and become hard and dry, leaving a sharp spike.  Scientists at Yale University have now tracked down the genetic control […]

Read More

Fungus Unchanged For 400 Million Years

Fungus unchanged for 400 million years, as reported in Botany One 29 June 2020, and Annals of Botany 24 June 2020, doi: 10.1093/aob/mcaa113.  Scientists have studied thin sections of the fossil bearing Lower Devonian Rhynie chert in Scotland, which is dated as 410 million years old.  They found exquisitely preserved reproductive structures, known as spore-saccule […]

Read More