We had a very dry summer. But of late it has been quite rainy.
Science News Daily has an interesting story about the mutualism between the senita moth and the senita cactus. At least that’s what the title of the piece proclaims. The article is actually about the struggle of one scientist to make sense of the phenomena.
This story is a little old. I meant to blog about it when I first heard of it, but got sidetracked. Native Seeds/SEARCH is a program designed to preserve the cultural heritage of native groups by saving and stockpilings seeds from their traditional crops:
Science Daily reports on an interesting piece of research that explains the evolution of inflorescences. The lead author is a computer scientist (which I mention because IDists frequently invoke computer science to support their claims).
This is a companion piece to the previous post.
Studying the evolution of insects can be difficult because they don’t fossilize well. But there are ways to study insect evolution. All life affects it’s environment in one form or another. In some cases the affect can be large, in others small. Occassionally, these affects remain behind long after the organism that caused them has died. Animal footprints, such as those of two dinosaurs below (from Glen Rose trackway), are good examples.
I learned about: Cambarus (Glareocola) brachydactylus a plant that inhabits tributaries of the Cumberland River in Tennessee.
What did you learn about?
According to theBBC a deadly frog fungus native to North America has been found in wild populations of British frogs.
The fungus – Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, pictured above – is believed to have been introduced into Britain via american species (Rana catesbeiana) pictured below.
From the BBC:
“This disease is a major cause of amphibian population declines and extinctions worldwide. So it’s pretty bad news that it has been found in the wild in this country.”
The fungus was identified six years ago and is firmly established in parts of the Americas, Australia and Europe. The disease it causes, chytridiomycosis, appears to kill amphibians by damaging their sensitive skins, blocking the passage of air and moisture.
“I think there is great concern,” said Dr Richard Griffiths, an amphibian specialist at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
“It will take more work to see if infected animals can be taken out of the wild, cleaned up and released. At the moment, people are concentrating on keeping [the disease] out.”
The fungus can be spread via the water:
“The fungus has turned up in many captive collections of exotic amphibians. And it can spread by motile zoospores in water,” he explained.
“So someone washing out their vivarium and pouring the water into the garden could inadvertently bring native species into contact with it.”
Below is a diagram of the fungus life cycle.