Sitting in an office is rarely fun. Sure, sometimes you sit with crazy colleagues that you quite cherish and who will eventually start a plant blog with you… but how often does that happen, really? Apart from the work itself, the ‘office’ part of office work means being stuck indoors for hours and hours, sitting at a desk, breathing that same old recirculated air filled with the smells of the floor, desk, chair, office printer, and of course your co-worker‘s new cologne.… Read more
If you had asked me two weeks ago how to pronounce Anthoceros, I would have confidently (or, as confident as I ever am with these naming things) replied: AnthoCERos. Hard push on the ‘cer’.
But if Anthoceros means ‘flower horn’, and has the same etymological roots as the ‘nose horned’ Rhinoceros, well then, shouldn’t I be pronouncing it AnTHOceros?
While the recently published Anthoceros genome didn’t manage to answer this question for me, it did touch on some other cool facts about this long-neglected group of plant.… Read more
Plants form relationships with bacteria all the time, but these relationships vary a lot. Sometimes, the two are best friends who share nutrients, while at other times they are their worst of enemies. Bacterial infection of plants can cause galls, growths, wilts, spots, speck, scabs, blights and rots. Which not only sounds gross, but can also seriously damage the health of the plant, and the quality of the plant product we humans want to consume (food, fuel, furniture?).
In order to help plants fight the good fight against bacterial invaders, our job as humans is to first understand the current state of the war – how it is that plants use the weapons at hand to defend themselves.… Read more
We’ve been thinking a lot about the Australian bushfires recently.
In case you’ve missed it, the 2019-2020 fire season in Australia has been absolutely catastrophic, with nearly 18 million hectares burned. Hand-in-hand with this horror, is the loss of houses and infrastructure, native animals and plant biodiversity, and even human lives.
But recently, good-news articles have started to appear, celebrating the return of signs of life in Australia’s char-burned bushlands. So today, we wanted to take a break from discussing the fires themselves- which are still ongoing-, and instead look at some of the amazing mechanisms that Australian plants use to beat the burn.… Read more
This is a long episode because we have so much to tell you. Luckily for you, technology has your back. This episode is best consumed through the use of chapter marks, smart playback and 2x playback speed. Unless you really like us, then there is so much more for you to enjoy. … Read more
Following on from Monday’s post, where we delved into the nitrogen cycle, today we’re again talking about gaseous nitrogen. But this time, the story is about nitrous oxide.
You may have heard nitrous oxide called ‘nitrous’ or even ‘laughing gas’ before – the stuff has been used as an anaesthetic since the mid 1800s, and is known from the euphoria it brings to those who inhale it.
But more recently, this simple little gas has gained infamy for something not quite so funny: following carbon dioxide and methane, nitrous oxide is the third most damaging of the greenhouse gases that drive the climate crisis.… Read more
We are surrounded by nitrogen.
The important life processes of photosynthesis and respiration revolve heavily around oxygen and carbon dioxide, but it’s nitrogen gas (N2) that makes up 78% of the air. This actually could be great, both plants and animals also need nitrogen to survive. It’s used in the amino acids that make our proteins, in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. There’s even a little bit found in chlorophyll.
But that 78% hanging around us in the air just happens to be fixed in an inaccessible form.… Read more