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

Newly Discovered Rare And Endangered Tree May Be Savior Of Its Insect Imperiled Cousins

It’s not every day—or even every decade—that a new species of conifer is found in the world’s temperate forests. But late last year, researchers announced a new species of hemlock tree from Korea, proving that even our best-studied forests still hold surprises. The new tree could help save one of its better-known cousins—a North American hemlock species being annihilated by a voracious insect. But the new find is so rare that it’s already being considered for an endangered-species listing itself. (Click on title for full story.)

Absence Of Wild Rice Reveals Dangerous Toxins In Minnesota Waterways

“Wild rice serves as a flagship species or the equivalent of our ‘canary in a coal mine,’ giving us a warning on how human activity affects our water quality in Minnesota, The results of our studies are important because they show that increases in sulfate in our lakes and streams can have multiple negative consequences for ecosystems, even though sulfate itself is relatively benign.” (Click on title for full story.)

Overheated Australian Trees Rewrite The Book On Photosynthesis With Unique Self-Cooling Method

The year-long experiment showed that trees continue to release water through their leaves as an evaporative cooling system during periods of extreme heat, despite the carbon-fixing process of photosynthesis grinding to a halt. Previously, scientists believed that photosynthesis and transpiration – the process of releasing water – were linked, meaning one would not occur without the other. (Click on title for full story.)

Neighbor Sues Over Walnuts Falling On Cars. Court Protects Rights Of Walnuts

Walnut trees may shed their nuts, judges in the court concluded, adding that this autumnal occurrence is “a fact of nature” and must be tolerated. (Click on title for full story.)

The Lost Peoples And Lost Crops Of North America Rediscovered

Over 2,000 years ago in North America, indigenous people domesticated plants that are now part of our everyday diets, such as squashes and sunflowers. But they also bred crops that have since returned to the wild. These include erect knotweed (not to be confused with its invasive cousin, Asian knotweed), goosefoot, little barley, marsh elder, and maygrass. We haven’t simply lost a few plant strains: an entire cuisine with its own kinds of flavors and baked goods has simply disappeared. (Click on title for full story.)

The Nazi Botanist, His Murder And The International Conspiracy To Eradicate Coco

In Mendoza the police file on the case has long since disappeared, and in Ugarteche only rumors remain — of a pickup seen lurking at Condor Huasi and the arrival and departure of two Bolivians that day from the nearby airport. But, according to Cabrera at least, the long career of Nazi Germany’s top botanist was on the cusp of a dramatic final act before he was cut down. “Heinz was very close,” he says. “Everything was ready; we were going to eliminate coca.” (Click on title for full story.)

Simple Protection Of Urban Trees Has Huge Consequences For Storm water Management

Comparing the infiltration rate of street trees with and without guards in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood, the researchers found that trees in protected pits absorbed water six times faster on average than tree pits without guards —3 millimeters versus .5 millimeters per minute. The researchers hypothesize that the guards improve infiltration by limiting soil compaction in tree pits. (Click on title for full story.)

Concrete Infrastructure Could Heal Itself Thanks To Embedded Fungi

The fungal spores, together with nutrients, will be placed into the concrete matrix during the mixing process. When cracking occurs, water and oxygen will find their way in. With enough water and oxygen, the dormant fungal spores will germinate, grow and precipitate calcium carbonate to heal the cracks, When the cracks are completely filled and ultimately no more water or oxygen can enter inside, the fungi will again form spores. As the environmental conditions become favorable in later stages, the spores could be wakened again. (Click on title for full story)

Botany 2.0 – New Technologies Revive Interest In Traditional Botanical Pursuits

Plant biologists hope that, by combining new approaches to botany with data from genomics and imaging labs, they can provide better answers to questions that biologists have asked for more than 100 years: how genes and the environment shape the rich diversity of plants’ physical forms. “People are starting to look beyond their own system into plants as a whole,. Plant morphology was once a science of form for its own sake, she says, but now, it is being pressed into service to understand how plant traits connect to gene activity across disparate species. “It’s coming back — just under different guises.” (Click on title for full story.)

The Last Place You’d Look: Climate Change Is Affecting Even Tropical Forests

“Tropical forests have evolved in generally stable climates, So while they may not be warming as much as some higher-latitude ecosystems, these tropical species appear to be much more sensitive than we might have expected.” (Click on title for full story.)