When we deal with pests on crop lands, we usually stick to a few straightforward strategies. We either try to breed more resistant plants or we spray them with specific and less specific pesticides. Organic farming – while still using some spray-on pesticides – has vowed to reduce their use. And as researchers recently discovered, they might do very well without them. … Read more
Bees and plants have a strange kind of codependency going on. Plants need bees for pollinating, and bees need pollen to feed their young. So it’s helpful for both parties if everyone involved can coordinate their calendars.
But if the flowers are lacking and the bees get hungry, well then, that’s when the bees begin to bite.… Read more
This post is inspired by two great friends. One, VL, who makes it her job to alert me of any and all of the cat-science news and sent around a paper about Cat Mint aka Nepeta spp., and the evolution of the chemicals – nepetalactones – that make cats go crazy.
And another, FM, who read this part of that paper’s abstract:
“Most likely, the adaptive function of nepetalactones in Nepeta is to protect against herbivorous insects, not to stimulate cats […]”
And responded jokingly that he preferred his science with a little less opinion.… Read more
This week, we’re talking about cowpeas and how they grow in arid regions, the contribution of Georgiana Simpson to Black Rights in the US, and the effect of humor on information retention. Plus so much more! … Read more
When we scientists look at plants, we’ve traditionally tended to focus on the bits of the plant that we can see. And yet the roots of the plant, which physically support the above-ground structures while also hauling in the water and basic nutrients the plant needs, go a long way to defining the productivity and fitness of the organism. So how do we observe what plants are doing underground?… Read more
Today, May 15th 2020, is Endangered Species Day*, a day designed to raise awareness about the many species that are threatened by human activity in our changing world.
When thinking of endangered species, we tend to immediately picture large and visible mammals, like pandas, tigers, whales and gorillas. But of course, there are organisms across all kingdoms of life that have been impacted. Including out beloved carbon-fixing friends.
So we thought we’d take a quick second to make a plea for plants.… Read more
This week, we’re diving into a science paper that was hard to miss. It’s all about creating artificial photosynthesis using spinach chloroplasts. We also talk about our favourite genome duplication events and news in the world of science.… Read more