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    1st course: Seagrass ****

    What’s the one dietary fact everybody knows about sharks? Correct, they eat human beings – as graphically shown in the creature feature film sensation of 1975, the movie Jaws (and its various good, bad, and indifferent sequels…). As so-called apex predators, sharks are famously considered to be carnivorous, but, that’s not necessarily so. Samantha Leigh […] More

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    Food, glorious food! ***, ****

    Plants provide animals [and it is acknowledged that the following listing is somewhat human-biased] with many things: e.g. medicines; building materials; oxygen; useful chemicals (e.g. dyes such as madder, essential oils for aromatherapy, and the natural pesticide pyrethrin); fuel to heat our homes or move our motor cars; fibres (e.g. cotton and jute); ‘recreational’ drugs […] More

  • A cactus bursting bubbles
    in ,

    Saluting those who suffer for science

    What is the most important part of a scientific paper? Arguably, it’s the Results section– although there are those who might propose that it’s the authors (scientists after all are humans and appreciate having their names associated with the science – especially if it is deemed to be first-rate and published in a high impact […] More

  • Schematic overview of the field and the actors of science communication
    in

    Science communication: Getting it right…

    Science is one of the most important of human activities, and consequently it’s often funded by the public via their taxes. In order to inform the public of the ways their ‘tax dollars’ have been spent – as part ‘thank you’ for that past funding, and partly to encourage future funding(?) – there is a […] More

  • Chrysosplenium ramosissimum
    in

    Check beneath your boots…

    When people mention plant blindness* they tend to focus on the ‘lack of appreciation of the role of plants in the world’ notion. That is important, but there has always been another side to plant blindness, people’s apparent inability to see plants in the natural world. That second issue is part of the inspiration for […] More

  • Gephyrocapsa_oceanica
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    Top-up, and bottom-down effects of marine plankton

    Members of the plankton are so-called because they don’t have the ability to move against modest currents in the water bodies they inhabit, i.e. they ‘wander’ or ‘drift’ (as in the meaning of the Greek word from which they get their name). These organisms quite literally ‘go with the flow’. Plankton is broadly divided into […] More

  • Old man and a plant
    in ,

    Houseplants as human health monitors

    Plants provide humans with many products and services that are not only important but essential to our existence. We don’t have space to catalogue all of those bountiful botanical benefits here (although we have done our best in this column over the years!). But we can showcase a new one, which may be a glimpse […] More

  • Dog admiring plant
    in

    Man’s best friend now plant’s best friend too?

    For thousands of years, dogs (domesticated descendants of wolves) have been considered to be man’s best friend. One of the ways that friendship has been manifested is the use of the dog’s highly-developed sense of smell to detect signs of disease in humans. Since this is usually possible long before any more obvious symptoms may […] More

  • Bromeliad and frog
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    Tanks, Zika and ornamental plants

    The plant group known as bromeliads famously includes the commercially important pineapple. However, that ground-growing member of the Bromeliaceae (the more formal name for the pineapple family of flowering plants) is rather atypical because many (most?) of the bromeliads are epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants). In the wild we may view bromeliads with […] More

  • Soy plantation.
    in ,

    Making soy better

    Avid readers of the Botany One blog will no doubt be aware of The Story of Soy. Written by Christine du Bois it makes the compelling case for the global importance of that crop plant. But, as productive and globally important as soy (Glycine max) is, it can always be improved. And that’s what Abraham […] More

  • Marimo balls
    in

    Algal research that has its ups and downs…

    Every so often you chance upon a scientific study that makes you think “What? That’s new or worthy of study (and publication…)?” I had that reaction when I saw the paper entitled, “Photosynthesis and circadian rhythms regulate the buoyancy of marimo lake balls” by Dora Cano-Ramirez et al.. Marimo balls are spheres of Aegagropila linnaei […] More

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