Category Archives: Plants & Animals

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Toxics As Tonic

It is interesting to think about the effect of the prairie dog, which was an amazing ecosystem engineer on a very large scale here in North America… these animals may have driven the evolution of selenium hyperaccumulation as an elemental defense against herbivory in many different plant species.

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The Serengeti ‘s Ultimate Gardeners

Walks through a forest are often made all the more enjoyable by the chance to watch brightly coloured birds flit between the trees. But birds are not just mere inhabitants of forests — in some parts of the world, they are the key to the trees' survival.

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Pitcher Plant Toilets

When you gotta go you gotta go, and for small tropical mammals called tree shrews, a pitcher plant serves as a handy toilet, new video research finds.

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Bats Pollinating – Photos

Amazing pictures (and some video) of bats caught in the act of pollination

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Birds Change Tune When Vegetation Changes

Using computer software to compare the songs then and now, she found that where vegetation had gotten thicker, the birdsongs had slowed down significantly in tempo.

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Flowers Just Want To Be Helpful

Flowers pollinated by insects have evolved special cells on their petals to help bees stay put while they are feeding.

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When Ants Are Not A Plants’ Friend

The relationship between these two species is much like that of other ants and ant-plants, until it comes time for the plant to reproduce. When Nodosa begins to flower, the ants attack the buds, lopping them off before they get a chance to spread seeds. The ant, in effect, sterilizes its gracious host. Ingrates.

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And Now To Explain Red Leaves

Aphids don't show up as frequently on apple trees that turn red in the fall as on those that stay green or yellow… Also, young aphids feeding on those formerly red trees in spring weren't as likely to grow to maturity as aphids on trees that turned green or yellow in the fall.

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Discriminating Bees Sniff First, Drink After

The study suggests that a bee's ability to associate floral scent with the best nectar may be the key to understanding how floral scent has evolved in flowering plants.

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African Sunbirds Acting Like American Hummingbirds

An African bird has learned to hover so that it can collect nectar from flowers, just as hummingbirds do in the Americas. The bird has an unlikely trainer: an invasive South American plant that has made its way to South Africa.