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

African Savanna Trees Protected From Elephant Damage By Beehives

Wire-netting protected trees against bark-stripping but did not prevent elephants from breaking branches. Beehives proved to be the more effective mitigation method for elephant impact on large trees, although the presence of beehives did not prevent elephants from moving through the study site. The financial cost and maintenance required for the beehive mitigation method are greater than that of wire-netting, but the beehives can provide honey as an additive benefit on a small-scale usage level. (Click on title for full report.)

Our Love For Orchids Will Be The Death Of Them. A Review Of Illegal Trade In Wild Species.

Orchids are one of the largest plant families and are commercially traded for a variety of purposes, including as ornamental plants, medicinal products and food. These markets involve thousands of species, which may be traded legally or illegally, sustainably or unsustainably, and take place at local, national or international scales. In this review, we provide the first overview of commercial orchid trade globally and highlight the main types that involve wild-collected plants. Much of this trade is the result of illegal harvest meaning that it is little documented and is absent from official statistics, at the same time as being of growing conservation concern. (Click on title for full report.)

Weighty Discovery: Newly Discovered Brazilian Tree Species May Be World’s Heaviest Organism

Dinizia jueirana-facao grows in a narrowly restricted area of Atlantic forest in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo. It is Critically Endangered – we know of only 25 of these trees in the whole world – a fact which helps to explain why such a majestic species has gone undiscovered and scientifically unnamed for so long. If such gigantic species are being described as new to science in the 21st century, just imagine how many smaller organisms are still waiting to be discovered? (Click on title for full story.)

Plants, Choosing Adaptations That Will Lessen Reproduction, Benefit Their Community

“We looked at how chemical defense cues from plants, meant to deter herbivores, can also deter pollinators, The surprising model result is that while this can lead to fitness losses for individuals, the population effects can be positive for pollinators and plants under some circumstances.” (Click on title for full story.)

Human Anesthetics Work On Plants. Good For Research (Not Suggested Just For Pruning)

Plants are sensitive to several anaesthetics that have no structural similarities. As in animals and humans, anaesthetics used at appropriate concentrations block action potentials and immobilize organs via effects on action potentials, endocytic vesicle recycling and ROS homeostasis. Plants emerge as ideal model objects to study general questions related to anaesthesia, as well as to serve as a suitable test system for human anaesthesia. (Click on title for full story.)

When Both Caterpillars And Aphids Attack Plants, The Plant Has To Make Defense Choices

Scientists describe two surprising discoveries: that plants prioritise the protection of flowers over leaves, and that simultaneous attack by aphids, caterpillars and bacteria leaves plants vulnerable to aphids but more protected from caterpillars. (Click on title for full story.)

When Trees Have Ants As Defenders Their Partners May Be Heroes Or Something Much Less

Each colony could be characterized by a behavioral type score along a docile-aggressive axis, with higher scoring colonies being more active, responsive, and aggressive than those with lower scores. Furthermore, colony behavioral types were correlated with their host plants’ health such that trees containing more aggressive colonies also exhibited less leaf damage. (Click on title for full story.)

How The Chocolate Trees Pass Disease Resistance On To Their Own Saplings

Although any litter exposure helped, plants that were treated with cacao litter showed the least damage overall and about 50% less damage than plants treated with mixed leaf litter from other species. Seedlings that were given no litter may host a greater diversity of endophytes because they are more likely to be colonized by weedy, easily-dispersed endophytic fungi that haven’t specialized in living within and protecting cacao as C. tropciale has.One important implication is that cacao farmers can give their seedlings a good start in a simple way: by collecting leaf litter from healthy older trees and spreading it around seedlings. If seedlings are planted in big fields away from older trees, such a practice could improve seedling health without having to individually inoculate each tree with C. tropicale. (Click on title for full story.)

Common Snapdragons Unlock A Genetic Secret Basic To Differentiating Species

“If you’ve ever wondered why animals and plants are different – then this discovery develops our understanding of how nature maintains variation by making species look different from each other.” (Click on title for full story.)

Asthma Rates In Urban Areas Reduced By Adequate And Appropriate Greenspace

We wanted to clarify how urban vegetation may be related to respiratory health. We know that trees remove the air pollutants which can bring on asthma attacks, but in some situations they can also cause localised build-ups of particulates by preventing their dispersion by wind. And vegetation can also produce allergenic pollen which exacerbates asthma.  We found that on balance, urban vegetation appears to do significantly more good than harm. However, effects were not equal everywhere. (Click on title for full story.)