Why are some plants red?

Why are some plants red?

A few years ago I would have been spending these snowy days in a couple of (minimally) heated greenhouses, surrounded by thousands of small growing plants. At the time, I was doing research on salad green production to see if it is feasible to do throughout a New England winter. The thing is, not all salad greens are actually green. 

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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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How much water does your food use?

How much water does your food use?

Last week I found out it takes more than three and a half gallons of water to grow one head of lettuce. Maybe you saw this article too. I wasn’t sure if that was a lot of water or not - plants do need water to grow. But how much do they need? Digging further into the source of the article, I found a concept that I hadn’t heard about - the water footprint of a crop. 

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It's hard to be a street tree

It's hard to be a street tree

In October of 2006 a lake effect storm, called 'Aphid' raged through the actual city of Buffalo (whereas, this years storm was actually south of the city). As part of the plant community, I know a narrow selection of Buffalonians, but those I know are quite passionate - they still talk of the devastation to the trees that this storm caused.

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Molecule of the Month: Anthocyanins

Molecule of the Month: Anthocyanins

Those of us living in temperate climates are all too familiar with the change of the seasons, but how much do we know about the biochemical changes that result in this vivid change in scenery? This FTDM post describes one of many molecules involved in leaf color composition: anthocyanins.

Photo credit: How Stuff Works

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Mutualism of the Month: Nectar robbers and pollinating birds

Mutualism of the Month: Nectar robbers and pollinating birds

This month’s mutualism is between the nectar-robbing purple sunbird Nectarina asiatica and a small flowering tree, the desert teak Tecomella undulata, particularly how the purple sunbird impacts the relationship between desert teak and its two pollinating birds: the red-vented bulbul Pycnonotus cafer and the white-eared bulbul P. leucotis.

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"Green thing eaten raw"

"Green thing eaten raw"

Thousands and thousands of years ago, humans began domesticating plants and animals. This happened independently in at least seven areas worldwide as people transitioned from hunter gathering to agrarian societies. Mesoamerica was one of these seven regions, and the birthplace of many beloved foods, including maize, beans, cocoa, cotton and today’s topic: squash.

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Farm mapping from the sky

Farm mapping from the sky

I feel like drones are everywhere in the news, and never with a good connotation. Really though, there is a myriad of useful applications for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), so let’s think of them as a tool for good rather than a weapon-carrying-device. In my case I’m thinking about agriculture, and how these tool can be used to grow crops. 

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