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Plants Spring into Action

We shouldn’t take plants for granted.  They seem so slow and stationary, but actually they move and breath and carry on their lives in truly amazing ways.  Plants really show off their glory in the spring.  But how do they know, without eyes, what time it is?     In “The science of spring,” PhysOrg […]

Winter Plant’s Thermostat Keeps It Cozy As a Skunk

Skunk cabbage.  Pew.  Do you like the meditative name “Zen plant” better?  Well, meditate on how this amazing plant keeps warm while it emerges through the last snows of winter.  Skunk cabbage is one of two plants known to regulate its body temperature.  Science Now reported on research by Japanese scientists who studied its thermostat.  […]

Lichens: Two Designs Are Better than One

A lichen is a symbiotic organism comprised of an alga and a fungus.  PNAS1 reported a study that showed that “antioxidant and photoprotective mechanisms in the lichen Cladonia vulcani are more effective by orders of magnitude than those of its isolated partners” (emphasis added in all quotes).  Kranner et al. found: Without the fungal contact, […]

Loss of Mangrove Forests Exacerbated Tsunami Damage

Many seashores have a natural defense against the onslaught of a tsunami: the mangrove forest.  Dense thickets of these trees that tolerate salt water and line the coasts of many subtropical islands and continents can absorb much of the energy of killer waves.  It is entirely plausible that the enormity of the human death toll […]
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