Biology Botany Physics 

How Do Plants Know Which Way to Grow?

By Shayna Keyles (@shaynakeyles) How do plants know which way is up and which way is down? No matter which way you put a seed in the soil, it will always send its roots down and its shoots up. (Unless you’re in space–we’ll get back to that later.) The answer lies in tropism: motion in response to external stimulus. This is pretty amazing, considering that in the traditional sense, plants can’t move. Specifically, plants are affected by geotropism, phototropism, and hydrotropism. In other words, plants move toward gravity, light, and water,…

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How Do People Interact with Closed Nature Trails? Citizen Science Education Environment 

How Do People Interact with Closed Nature Trails?

by Maggie Gaddis In the first quarter of 2018, I worked with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) staff to identify trails of monitoring interest. We reflected on the feedback received in 2017. The Citizen Science Program concept was received well at the end of 2017,  and we agreed to expand the Program by including more trails. All trails are in the Garden of the Gods in 2018. The potential for additional sites is there, but we agreed it was best to focus our attention on the Garden. A question…

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Citizen Scientists Invited to Identify Plants Botany Citizen Science 

Citizen Scientists Invited to Identify Plants

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Pl@ntNet is a citizen science project and an app that helps you identify plants, thanks to the camera of your smartphone. The app recognizes more than 13,000 species around the world. We recently spoke with Rémi Knaff, community manager for the project, about plant identification and citizen science. GotScience: Who can use this plant identification tool? Knaff: The app can be used by anyone who is interested in plants or wants to be part of a citizen science project. The app uses crowdsourced data to give…

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Gardening Alternatives to Pesticides Animals Botany Environment 

Gardening Alternatives to Pesticides

By Steven Spence @TheStevenSpence Gardens are a delight Sadly, it’s not just gardeners, bees, butterflies, and birds that enjoy gardens. Gardens inevitably also attract insect pests, as I know firsthand from working on my little plot with flowers and fruit trees. In my first year of gardening, I didn’t know what to do to get rid of an aphid infestation, so I went to a local garden supply store and was advised to buy some spray-on pesticides, which I reluctantly used. After that experience, I began to talk with other…

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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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ivy Biology 

Ivy League Climber

By Mark Lasbury, MS, MSEd, PhD @Biologuy1 Wrigley Field is the venerable 1914 baseball stadium on Chicago’s north side. One of its most characteristic features is the ivy-covered outfield wall that occasionally swallows a hit ball, never to be seen again—a ground rule double. The vines on the outfield wall at Wrigley Field are actually Boston ivy and Japanese bittersweet. English Ivy would have a tough time with Chicago winters, just like everyone else. English ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen climbing vine in the Araliaceae family, but it will…

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