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
0213001849

Dinosaurs As Seed Dispersers: Fossilized Dino Gut Reveals All

Researchers identified these seeds as belonging to an ancient type of cycad, as well as from other plants. This is interesting, as it shows that some dinosaurs, much like modern mammals, might have been important in helping to disperse the seeds of plants along landscapes through plants’ ingenuity of exploiting the fact that dinosaurs like to poop from time to time. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Even Amazonia Was Shaped By Ancient Human Agriculturists

The Amazon has long been held up as an example of untamed wilderness. But people have lived in the world’s largest rainforest for thousands of years, hunting, gathering and farming1. For years, researchers have debated how much of an influence human activities have had on the Amazon. And now, a study describes the extent to which ancient peoples changed the distribution of trees in the forest around them. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Are The Mysterious Ghost Redwoods Really Symbiotic Saviors?

Moore’s theory – which he presented at a redwood conference last month and hopes to publish next year – is that albino redwoods are in a symbiotic relationship with their healthy brethren. They may act as a reservoir for poison in exchange for the sugar they need to survive. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

How Trees Determined The Outrageous Color Difference Between Male And Female Eclectus Parrots

Eclectus parrots are making important contributions to our understanding of the complex and subtle relationships between resource allocation, ecology and evolution. Additionally, plumage color is a powerful way to gain a clearer insight into the natural history of bird species. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Urban Forests Can’t Restore Themselves Without Human Help

Native tree recruitment…required localized burning and herbivore exclusion,” the authors note. Burning eliminated competing plants and keeping rodents and deer away from the seedlings allowed them to grow. “The damage done by white-tailed deer is well-documented,” Whereas wildland forests have been studied extensively, less is known about an urban system. “If a forest isn’t replacing itself, it’s a garden, Just standing back and letting trees grow is not going to work.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Seagrass Meadows Protect Corals And Marine Animals From Our Filth

Our results indicated that seagrass meadows significantly reduce bacterial loads and can benefit both humans and other organisms in the environment. Represented on every continental shelf but Antarctica, seagrasses are valued for nutrient cycling, sediment stabilization, reduc ing the effects of carbon dioxide elevation, and providing nursery habitat for fisheries.Our observation of reduced levels of coral disease on reefs adjacent to seagrass meadows offers independent support of the benefits that seagrass meadows provide to controlling pathogenic bacteria in marine environments. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Devastated Rain Forests Aren’t Just Going To Restore Themselves

The results of the research have implications for the restoration of rainforests: “It is highly unlikely that the tree species we studied is able to recolonise cleared patches in a fragmented habitat by natural seed dispersal alone,” says Kettle. He adds that the same applies to other endangered species of tropical tree with large fruit and seeds dispersed by birds, as evidence from other fragmented tropical forests around the world shows that seeds of this kind are dispersed only locally. “For rainforest restoration projects to be successful, you have to give special attention to these trees,” says Kettle. “If you want to encourage them to spread, the only option is to collect their seeds, set up tree nurseries and then actively plant out the saplings at a later stage.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Can This Invasive Tree Be Used To Fight MRSA Infections?

“This kind of study shows that when you take a logical approach focusing on those species that have been used in traditional medicines for centuries, that still is a valid area to explore and I think we can make a lot of progress in developing drugs that can help a larger population if we continue to work in that area.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

We Don’t Need No Stinking Bees. Robotic Pollinators

“The findings, which will have applications for agriculture and robotics, among others, could lead to the development of artificial pollinators and help counter the problems caused by declining honeybee populations, We believe that robotic pollinators could be trained to learn pollination paths using global positioning systems and artificial intelligence.” (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Redwoods Tell Surprising Climactic History That Suggests A Difficult Future

“This long record is really now painting a new picture that drought is probably more common than we thought in the tree ring records,” Dawson says. “So the redwoods are telling us a new drought story.” Embedded in the tree ring data is evidence of not one but three distinct cycles ranging from the yearly to the centennial. The most familiar, the El Niño-La Niña cycle, takes place over a few years and involves dramatic changes to the pattern of winds and water temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a decades-long cycle in the Northern Pacific in which the waters off the West Coast fluctuate between warmer and cooler surface temperatures. The longest cycle the team found spans over a century and potentially involves wind patterns that connect the North Pacific with the North Atlantic. Dawson says the redwood cores hold the first record of all three cycles. The tree ring records show that California is caught in the middle of climatic cycles that are so long, we’ve been ignorant of them until recently. What it also means is that the worst drought we’ve seen may actually be the norm when taking the long perspective. (Click on title for full story.)