Plant Bacteria Thrive in Wet Weather Biology Botany 

Plant Bacteria Thrive in Wet Weather

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Plants need water to grow. But too much water isn’t good for them either. Scientists have found that excessive rain and high humidity levels allow disease-causing bacteria to attack plants by creating a moist environment that makes them more susceptible to bacterial infections. When conditions are right, plants can be infected with bacteria, viruses, and fungi. While scientists and farmers have long known that wet weather and long periods of high humidity can increase the risk of crops getting diseases, the exact mechanisms have so far…

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Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination Biology Botany 

Flower Power: The Physics of Pollination

By Marie Davey @biophilesblog Pollination. The word brings to mind the droning buzz of fat yellow and black bumblebees bouncing from blossom to blossom in flower-decked meadows. But up close and in person, pollination is often anything but idyllic. The physical forces involved in pollination can be impressive, and both plants and insects must be well adapted to withstand them. The flowers of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) generate impressive physical forces, acting as tiny pollen catapults. Bunchberry flower buds have petals that are fused to one another and completely enclose the…

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Lupine Invasions Biology Botany Environment 

Lupine Invasions

By Marie Davey @biophilesblog Roadsides, ditches, and railway lines in Norway are awash with colour every June.  The lupines bloom, and dense swathes of purple, pink, and white blossoms stacked into perfect pillars brighten the countryside. I love the vibrant colours, but I have to stop to remind myself that these are not the friendly wildflowers of my Canadian childhood. Lupinus polyphyllus, the big-leaved lupine, is native to the western United States and Canada, from British Columbia and Alberta south to California and east to Montana, Idaho, and Nevada—but in…

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Water Weeds May Clean Up Oil Spills Biology Botany Environment Technology 

Water Weeds May Clean Up Oil Spills

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Oil—we use it every day, whether to power our cars or to heat our homes. Our appetite for crude oil continues to grow. This year the world is forecast to consume around 94 million barrels of oil per day (1 barrel = 159 liters or 42 gallons). Most of this oil is transported by sea, and with so much oil being transported, spillage is more likely. Not only are oil spills harmful to marine life, they are also expensive and difficult to clean up—sometimes taking years.…

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