All posts by zooplantman

Former Director of Horticulture, Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo. Zoo exhibit & landscape designer perversely fascinated by the doings of plants, animals, ecosystems and other things not requiring batteries

96 percent Of Central African Forests At Risk If Elephant Poaching Continues

These changes will occur because elephants are ecological engineers that help create and maintain forest habitat by dispersing seeds, recycling and spreading nutrients, and clearing understories, (Click on title for full story.)

When Honey Bees Are Bad For Pollination And Bad For Other Bee Species

Even though overall, both bee taxa were equally effective pollinators, we suggest that honey-bees not only have the potential to reduce the amount of pollen available for plant reproduction, they also have the potential to reduce the amount of resources available to solitary bee communities. The results of this study have potential implications for the conservation of this highly endangered plant species if hives are permitted inside reserves, where the bulk of Oncocyclus iris species are protected (Click on title for full study.)

Understanding The Future By Looking Backward At Ancient Plants

“Our new approach to quantifying ancient atmospheric moisture content relies on the fundamental properties of plant leaves, and how they alter their protective waxy coverings in response to water stress. These leaf waxes are tough and resistant, and are regularly found as what we call biomarker compounds in ancient river, lake and even marine sediments.” (Click on title for full story.)

Trees In Moist Tropics Are Dying Faster Then Ever Accelerating Climate Change

The trees that are able to cope in a warmer world by absorbing more carbon dioxide are at higher risk of death in multiple ways. Bigger trees are more vulnerable to lightning strikes and damage from high winds, and they must consume more water than their smaller counterparts. All that places them at greater risk from stressors like wind, lightning, and lack of water. Trees in the moist tropics play an especially important role in Earth’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide, absorbing much more carbon proportionally than all the other forests combined. Their deaths reduce the planet’s ability to cope with the high levels of CO2 that caused them to die to begin with. (Click on title for full story.)

Marry A Tree To Save It From Deforestation

he ceremonies are known as the “marry a tree” ritual and is being held and supported by an organization named Bedani. “I think more than 30 people got married here, men and women, who freely said ‘yes’ to their tree. The commitment is more than a symbolic wedding – it is also a commitment that is spiritual and action-oriented,” (Click on title for full story.)

Why Are Some Plants Rare? Look To Their Ability To Adapt To Soil Microbiome

Rare plant species suffer more from disease than commoner species. The fact that rare species are more susceptible to attack by micro-organisms living in the soil, such as fungi and bacteria, may in fact be one of the reasons they are rare. Biologists have been trying to work out why some species are rare, while others are common, since Darwin’s time and a new study provides a possible answer. (Click on title for full story.)

Leaving Nothing To Chance, Flower Uses Catapult To Hurl Pollen Onto Bees

Flowers are just about the last thing in nature you’d list as fast, but the mountain laurels’ filaments are an exception. The defining characteristic of the flowers, which are native to the eastern United States, is a series of 10 arms or filaments that act like catapults, flinging pollen into the air with startling speed. (Click on title for full story & video)

Your Laptop, Even Your Car, May Someday Run On Pollen

This study explored the potential of utilizing pollens as renewable carbon sources for energy storage application and found that high reversible capacities are achievable with careful selection of pollen morphology. (Click on title for full report.)

Rare Alpine Plants Found To Produce Even Rarer Mineral The World Wants

Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites and rocks. This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found in such a large quantity and the first time it has been found to be associated with plants…. “Biochemists are working to synthetically manufacture vaterite as it has potential for use in drug delivery, but it is not easy to make. Vaterite has special properties that make it a potentially superior carrier for medications due to its high loading capacity, high uptake by cells and its solubility properties that enable it to deliver a sustained and targeted release of therapeutic medicines to patients. For instance, vaterite nanoparticles loaded with anti-cancer drugs appear to offload the drug slowly only at sites of cancers and therefore limit the negative side-effects of the drug.” (Click on title for full story.)

You Want To Take Herbal Cures, But Can You Be Sure The Herb Is What It Says It Is?

“Thanks to globalization, special medicinal plants that grow in a single region only have a worldwide market,” says Peter Nick of KIT’s Botanical Institute. If the rapidly changing superfood trends lead to a sudden increase in demand, these often cannot be met by existing capacities, the professor for molecular cell biology says. The result is a booming trade in counterfeits. “The caterpillar fungus is deemed to have a strengthening and aphrodisiac effect in traditional medicine. Every year, however, the exported quantity of this mushroom is eight times that of its harvest,” (Click on title for full story.)