Rat chews tree for added poison damage
The crested rat chews the poison arrow plant, extracting a deadly plant poison that is then smeared on its fur for defence.… Read more
Penguin Poop is Pink
Penguin poop, as it turns out is pink.
And I need you all to know that – despite what several sources might say- the reason it’s pink, isn’t because of the krill (little sea crustaceans) that they eat.… Read more
The Algae Expert who helped Crack Code in WWII
While some say that hiring Geoffrey Tandy at the top-secret centre for Allied Codebreaking was a result of mistaken terminology, the marine biologist nonetheless used his transferable skills to help win the war.… Read more
I saw the Kew Garden’s giant Corpse Flower
By enormous luck, a spur-or-the-moment decision to escape to London’s Kew Gardens on a sunny Friday had me running into the blooming event of the season: the opening of the Corpse flower’s massive bloom.… Read more
Turning Cabbage into Cauliflower
Cauliflower’s ability to imitate anything from ‘rice’ to ‘wings’, has seen the previously humble veggie rise in power in recent years. Yet while its transformative powers are celebrated by foodies across the world, until now it has remained unclear how the vegetable itself (and its fancy Romanesco variant) evolved from its plainer predecessor – cabbage… Read more
Plants ‘smell’ pheromones of parasitic worms
Plants perceive the chemical signals that waft off worms like bad B-O as a sign to hunker down and start preparing their defences.
The fact that nematodes -a type of small slender worm- are the most abundant animals on earth is almost definitely one of my least favourite facts.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an anti-wormer. But you might say I’m a bit of a worm snob – I simply prefer the fancy segmented ‘earthworm’ variety (aka annelids). While earthworms exist in my mind as friendly soil-living earth munchers that are ‘just the right size for a small child to put in its pockets’, I know that nematodes can range from microscopic to over a metre long.… Read more
May The Fourth Be With You
The answer to the question, ‘what has a light sabre got to do with how plants express themselves’… Read more
Bug Pest Steals Plant Genes to Neutralize Plant Defences
Plants and herbivorous insects have long struggled in an evolutionary arms race. Now, in the first example of animals thieving plant genes, research shows that sweet potato whiteflies have overcome plant defences by looting the plants’ own genetic arsenal. … Read more
It’s time we talked about see-through wood
Using the chemicals we bleach our hair with and a little sun we can create a new type of wood that’s (nearly) as clear as glass.
Wood is a rather remarkable material that humans have been using for over a million of years, both for fuel and for the creation of structures. Wood is cheap yet versatile, with low density and light weight, yet high strength, and the ability to be highly insulating. Relevant to modern times, it’s also a renewable resource, and a carbon sink. … Read more
Why the length of your DNA matters
A recent publication describes the extraction of ultra-long DNA. We discuss why the length of a DNA strand is important for science.… Read more