Category

Botany

Different blossoming schedules have kept these flowers from driving each other extinct

By | Botany, News

A big part of evolution is competition– when there are limited resources to go around, plants and animals have to duke it out for nutrients, mates, and places to live. That means that the flower-covered meadows of China’s Hengduan mountains were an evolutionary mystery– there are dozens of species of closely-related rhododendrons that all live in harmony. To figure out why, scientists spent a summer carefully documenting the flowering patterns of 34 Rhododendron species, and they discovered the reason why the plants were able to coexist: they burst into bloom at different points in the season so they don’t have to compete for pollinators.

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Secrets of Namibia’s fairy circles demystified: plants self-organise

By | Botany, News, Plant Science

Scientists have puzzled over the origin of Namibia’s fairy circles for nearly half a century. It boiled down to two main theories: either termites were responsible, or plants were somehow self-organizing. Now, researchers benefitting from two exceptionally good rainfall seasons in the Namib Desert, show that the grasses within the fairy circles died immediately after rainfall, but termite activity did not cause the bare patches. Instead, continuous soil-moisture measurements demonstrate that the grasses around the circles strongly depleted the water within the circles and thereby likely induced the death of the grasses inside the circles.

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A spectral window into plants of the past

By | Botany, News

Until now, the only way to learn about these traits from herbarium collections has required destroying bits of the precious specimens. But now researchers have developed a fast, nondestructive way of estimating the functional traits of herbarium specimens. The research, offers ecologists a powerful new tool for using biological collections to understand how plant communities change over time, providing insights into how we might best keep ecosystems healthy in the future.

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Plants that pull nitrogen from thin air thrive in arid environments

By | Botany, News

After a comprehensive study of plants across the United States, researchers have arrived at the unexpected conclusion that plants able to fix atmospheric nitrogen are most diverse in arid regions of the country. This finding runs counter to the prevailing assumption that nitrogen-fixers should be comparatively most diverse in environments where nitrogen in the soil is in limited supply.

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New Subspecies of Begonia Reported from Philippines

By | Botany, News

Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape is one of the declared protected areas of the Philippines and is characterized by a variety of habitats. The presence of various microhabitats is reflected in the diversity of flora and fauna found there. However, limited information on its flora and fauna is available and biodiversity studies are scarce up until at present. 

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