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Meet The Earliest Orchid Ever Found. A Mere 45 Million Years Old

How the orchid pollen in this study ended up attached to the fungus gnat and eventually entombed in amber from near the Baltic Sea in northern Europe is a matter of speculation. (Click on title for full story.)

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Could We Manage Mangrove Communities To Increase Carbon Capture?

Of all the carbon buried in the floors of Earth’s oceans, most of it is found in the narrow strip of tidal marshes, seagrass beds, and mangroves along their edge. Known as blue carbon ecosystems, these vegetated coastal habitats “occupy only 0.2% of the ocean surface, yet contribute 50% of the total amount of carbon buried in marine sediments. Meter for meter, they’re some of the most effective carbon storage systems we have. But could people make them even more effective? (Click on title for full story.)

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Climate Change + Fire Will Replace Forests With Shrublands

Although most of these cone-bearing evergreen softwood trees are well adapted to fire, the study examines whether two likely facets of climate change—hotter, drier conditions and larger, more frequent, or more intense wildfires—could potentially transform landscapes from forested to shrub-dominated systems. “Our study helps to identify the places that are at greatest risk of forest loss, where managers could either target management to promote post-fire forest recovery, or accept that we’re going to see some degree of landscape transformation in the coming decades and learn to meet ecological objectives under the new climate and disturbance regimes,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Can A Return To Ancient Crops Make Agriculture Sustainable?

Farmers who grow single crops are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but now researchers are resurrecting ancient crop varieties to encourage diversity and offset the risks of extreme weather. (Click on title for full story.)

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Study Shows That Rosemary Is Indeed For Remembrance.

A study found that pupils working in a room with the aroma of rosemary, in the form of an essential oil, achieved 5% to 7% better results in memory tests. (Click on title for full story.)

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Going Where No Seed Has Gone Before: Morning glories In Space

Natural sunscreens help morning glory seeds survive doses of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that would burn most humans to a crisp, according to a new study. The hardy seeds of the common flowering plant would probably even survive a voyage between planets, say the researchers. This might help researchers decide which species to send on future missions to Mars, (Click on title for full story.)

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Dandelion Seeds Perfect For Precision Laboratory Work

“Because it has this special omniphilic property, the seed provides us a new way of handling nanoliter-sized droplets in the lab. They are a beautiful controlled environment; they basically seal off the work around them so we can run a very controlled chemical reaction with them. The dandelion comes self-assembled, naturally grown, and its seeds are able to reliably and repeatedly pick up these tiny volumes of fluid that we need to transport in a lab setting.” (Click on title for full story.)

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Curing Drug-Resistant Malaria With Plants

When the standard malaria medications failed to help 18 critically ill patients, the attending physician in a Congo clinic acted under the “compassionate use” doctrine and prescribed a not-yet-approved malaria therapy made only from the dried leaves of the Artemisia annua plant. In just five days, all 18 people fully recovered. This small but stunningly successful trial offers hope to address the growing problem of drug-resistant malaria. (Click on title for full story.)

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Climate Change Pushes Tough Decisions For Commercial Forestry Plantings

The interest for alternatives to be used in forest conversion has grown immensely with the change in climate. Naturally the desire for higher yields in growth, accompanied by a good suitability to a warmer and dryer climate, also play an important role. A search for alternate species in order to transform the forest to better face climate change has been underway for a long time. It is now imperative to examine the alternatives based on clear principles, in an emotionless manner and without stereotypes. (Click on title for full story.)

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Fire Reveals New Plant Species

“The extraordinary thing is, the vegetation that was burnt in 2015 hadn’t been burnt for something like 70 or 80 years,” Professor Hopper said. He was astonished the new species had gone undetected for hundreds of years. (Click on title for full story.)