Molecule of the Month: The Most Dangerous Game.

Molecule of the Month: The Most Dangerous Game.

What better way to start off the year than with a Molecules of the Month theme of poison/venom. In this article, I break down [literally] the distinction between poison and venom, down to the chemical components. 
What does it take for an organism to be poisonous/venomous? Why are some organisms more deadly than others?

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Are Trees Socialists?

Are Trees Socialists?

A recent blog post over at Scientific American proposes that trees are unabashedly socialist. Is this really the case, though? Is there a classless, worker-owned utopia dwelling in the ground beneath our feet that takes from each according to its ability assigns to each according to its need? Probably not. Trip into a rhetorical pitfall and learn about a metaphor taken too far in this post.

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How Plants Beat the Heat: Lessons from a Hairy Cactus

How Plants Beat the Heat: Lessons from a Hairy Cactus

It's summer time, and that means temperatures are heating up. While humans are migrating to swimming pools or air-conditioned movie theaters, plants are still stuck outside without the luxury of beach umbrellas or some mediocre fiction to keep them entertained. While there's not much they can do about boredom, plants have evolved plenty of innovative ways to keep cool in harsh environments, and that's the topic of this new series. 

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Plants are Jerks: False Advertising

Plants are Jerks: False Advertising

Many plants rely on animals to pollinate them. In exchange for ensuring another generation, those pollinators are frequently rewarded with food. Some plants, however, have decided that rewarding pollinators is for chumps. In this post, learn about the con men of the plant world and how they fool pollinators. 

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Mutualism of the month: Frogs and a protective bacterial complement

Mutualism of the month: Frogs and a protective bacterial complement

The endemic Panamánian golden frog was at risk of complete extinction from the threat of a pathogenic fungus. It has since been raised in captivity with the hope of reintroduction to the wild. The only problem: the fungus is still around. Learn how researchers are developing a treatment for these amphibians involving mutualistic fungus-fighting bacteria in this month's mutualism.

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Forests: Young and Old

Forests: Young and Old

I’ve touched on the topic of succession in a few of my posts.  Here I will delve a little deeper into the mechanics of an aging plant community. When I began to learn more about forests and trees, I wondered: how it is that an “old” forest has not only bigger and taller trees, but different kinds of trees? Why does a hemlock like to grow in old forests, and a birch like to grow in young ones? 

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