Plants are not adapted to fire per se, but to specific fire regimes, and thus some adaptations may provide…

Plants are not adapted to fire per se, but to specific fire regimes, and thus some adaptations may provide persistence to some fire regimes but not to all. That is, species that exhibit traits that are adaptive under a particular fire regime can be threatened when that regime changes.

Originally shared by Daniel Montesinos

Plants adapted to fire: hot!

From :  Fire Ecology 

“This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a few examples of common species for illustrative purpose. You can find a description of these adaptations and further examples elsewhere [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is also important to note that plants are not adapted to fire per se, but to specific fire regimes, and thus some adaptations may provide persistence to some fire regimes but not to all [1]. That is, species that exhibit traits that are adaptive under a particular fire regime can be threatened when that regime changes.

Serotiny (canopy seed storage): Pinus halepensis, Pinus pinaster, with variability in serotiny driven by different fire regimes [5, 6]

Fire-stimulated germination: There are examples of heat-stimulated germination, like many Cistaceae (e.g., Cistus, Fumana [7, 8]) and many Fabaceae (e.g., Ulex parviflorus, Anthyllis cytisoides [7, 8]), as well as examples of smoke-stimulated germination like many Lamiaceae (e.g., Rosmarinus officinalis, Lavandula latifolia [7]) or Coris monspeliensis (Primulaceae [7]). There are also examples of species with smoke-stimulated seedling growth (Lavandula latifolia [7])

Resprouting from lignotubers: Arbutus unedo, Phillyrea angustifolia, many Erica species (e.g., E. multiflora, E. arborea, E. scoparia, E. australis) [4]

Epicormic resprouting: Quercus suber [9, 10], Pinus canariensis [4]

Fire-stimulated flowering: Some monocots like species of Asphodelus, Iris, Narcissus [11, 12]

Enhanced flammability: Ulex parviflorus shows variability of flammability driven by different fire regimes [13] and under genetic control [14]. Many Lamiaceae species have volatile organic compounds that enhance flammability (e.g., Rosmarinus officinalis [16]).

Thick bark and self-pruning (in understory fires): Pinus nigra [3,15]”

References and links to pdf’s in the link below

http://jgpausas.blogs.uv.es/2015/09/07/fire-adaptations-in-mediterranean-basin-plants/

http://jgpausas.blogs.uv.es/2015/09/07/fire-adaptations-in-mediterranean-basin-plants//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.js

Basically, figs have managed to turn wasps into part of their biology, and can be considered to be part-animal,…

Basically, figs have managed to turn wasps into part of their biology, and can be considered to be part-animal, part-plant. 

Originally shared by Yonatan Zunger

In the category of “really weird things I did not know:” apparently figs and certain wasps have co-evolved into a sort of single organism, with the wasps acting as highly mobile sex organs. It’s basically what happens if you take “insects pollinating flowers” to its logical conclusion.

Essentially, a female wasp shows up at a fig, pollen in tow and laden with egs, enters the fig, spreads the pollen around, lays her eggs, and dies. Some of the fig’s ovaries are now fertilized by pollen; they develop seeds. Others have wasp eggs; they form a shell around the eggs. Male wasps hatch first; they have no wings, but instead travel around the inside of the fig, fertilize the females (still in their eggs), cut escape hatches for them, and then die. Next the male flowers mature and produce pollen. Next, the female wasps hatch, already fertilized; they get covered in pollen, and fly out, in search of another fig. The wasps which die in the fig get digested by it and turned into more fig.

Which is to say, the wasp’s entire life cycle is basically loading up on the parts to make more wasps and more figs, and then finding a fig. 

There are a few variations on this, summarized in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig_wasp . But basically, figs have managed to turn wasps into part of their biology, and can be considered to be part-animal, part-plant. Others instead would say that the figs are eating the wasps, which I suppose is also true, but that really understates the complexity of this relationship.

Apparently this is also enough for some people to consider figs not to be vegan. (cf http://www.organicauthority.com/health/figs-are-they-vegan.html , although to make it clear I am not endorsing any of the, well, anything on this site; it’s just an example of what arguments around the kosher vegan status of the fig look like)

Mostly, this gives me an urge for figs. 

Via @silentkpants on Twitter.

So should you stop eating red and processed meat? The answer is all about the dreaded, boring M word – moderation.

So should you stop eating red and processed meat? The answer is all about the dreaded, boring M word – moderation.

Originally shared by Buddhini Samarasinghe

Red meat and cancer risk

The news is awash with stories about how red and processed meats have been classified as carcinogens in the same category as tobacco. But what exactly does this mean? Let’s unpick this a little bit before throwing out the bacon with the bathwater. 

There have been several excellent bits of writing that explain what this means – the first is by Ed Yong (http://goo.gl/br9OU7) and the second by CRUK* (http://goo.gl/ELDzCI). These are well-worth a read if you want to learn more. 

Basically, the key bit of information to remember is that this is not a risk assessment, it is a hazard identification. A great analogy (stolen from the CRUK article above) is to think of banana skins – they definitely can cause accidents, but in practice it doesn’t happen very often, and isn’t as severe as being in a car accident. But under the hazard identification approach, banana skins and cars would be in the same category because they both definitely cause accidents. The severity of the accident is not discussed, and that’s where we tend to get lost with the breathless press releases on this topic. 

So should you stop eating red and processed meat? The answer is all about the dreaded, boring M word – moderation. If you’re always eating red and processed meat, over years and years, then that’s probably not good for you. But meat in moderation (i.e. not too much and not too often) is still okay, and is definitely not as bad as smoking is. The thing with diet and disease is that reality is often rather boring; there are no miracle diets or magical juice cleansers that will give you eternal youth. There are no superfoods that offset the damage of binge-drinking every weekend. That’s just not how our bodies work. 

What you can do to prevent cancer is eat plenty of fruit and veg with lots of fibre while cutting back on things like alcohol, salt, red and processed meats. And definitely avoid sunburns and smoking. 

*In the interest of full disclosure, I work at the charity CRUK as a science communicator. 

#ScienceEveryday  

We’re seeing the planets that are easy to see, not necessarily the ‘typical’ ones.

We’re seeing the planets that are easy to see, not necessarily the ‘typical’ ones.

Originally shared by John Baez

A smaller solar system

Kepler-11 is a star 2000 light-years away that’s very similar to our sun.  It has at least 6 planets.  But this solar system is small.   All the planets would fit inside the orbit of Venus – and all but one fit inside the orbit of Mercury!

We used to think gas giants like Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune could only exist far from their host star.  But that’s when we just knew one solar system – our own.  Now we know that there’s a huge variety.  Many  have hot Jupiters or hot Neptunes – gas giants close to the star.  We think they formed farther away and migrated in toward their stars when they got tired of the cold winters.

But beware: the easiest planets to detect are big ones close to the star!  We’re seeing the planets that are easy to see, not necessarily the ‘typical’ ones.  There are probably lots of smaller planets we haven’t seen yet.

Kepler-11 got its name because it’s the 11th star where the Kepler spacecraft saw planets.  Even better, they were found in 2011.  Its planets have boring names: they’re called b, c, d, e, and f in order of increasing distance from their star.  But they’re pretty interesting.   They have masses between those of Earth and Neptune. Their densities are all lower than Earth, so they’re probably not rocky worlds.     Planets d, e and f probably have a hydrogen atmosphere.  Planets b and c seem to contain lots of ice.

Puzzle: how can you have a planet with lots of ice closer to a sun-like star than Venus is to the Sun?

#astronomy #exoplanets  

What is life?

What is life? How do we define it? If we met new life – on this planet or the next – can we recognise it? Join us for a Mosaic and Science on Google+ Hangout on air as we speak to Dr Matthew Francis about this fascinating topic. 

Matthew is a science writer and physicist. His latest feature on Mosaic opens with an intriguing description of how NASA is studying the depths of Lake Pavillion in Canada, in an attempt to understand more about how life on Earth began, and what extraterrestrial life might be like (read more at http://mosaicscience.com/story/what-life).

 

This HOA will be hosted by Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe. You can tune in on Saturday October 24th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

More about Lake Pavillion: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs/about_pavilionlake.html

Join the conversation using #MosaicHOA  

We’re live in 15 mins, hope you can join us!

We’re live in 15 mins, hope you can join us!

Originally shared by Science on Google+

What is p53 and why is it described as the ‘guardian of the genome’? How is p53 linked to cancer? Join us for a Mosaic and Science on Google+ Hangout on air as we speak to Sue Armstrong about all things p53!

Sue is the author of the popular science book “P53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code” and she recently authored a fascinating article on Mosaic Science about “Brazil’s Cancer Curse” (read more at http://mosaicscience.com/story/brazils-cancer-curse).

 

This HOA will be hosted by Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe. You can tune in on Sunday October 18th at 6 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

Join the conversation using #MosaicHOA  

Sue’s book: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/p53-9781472910516/

What is p53 and why is it described as the ‘guardian of the genome’?

What is p53 and why is it described as the ‘guardian of the genome’? How is p53 linked to cancer? Join us for a Mosaic and Science on Google+ Hangout on air as we speak to Sue Armstrong about all things p53!

Sue is the author of the popular science book “P53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code” and she recently authored a fascinating article on Mosaic Science about “Brazil’s Cancer Curse” (read more at http://mosaicscience.com/story/brazils-cancer-curse).

 

This HOA will be hosted by Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe. You can tune in on Sunday October 18th at 6 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

Join the conversation using #MosaicHOA  

Sue’s book: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/p53-9781472910516/