Hello Neighbor

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A recent report published in Science Daily describes the results of a recent research study published in the journal Current Biology supporting the hypothesis that when under attack from insect herbivores plants indeed communicate with each other.1

No, they don’t scream, but use chemicals called Volatile Organic Compounds and release them into the atmosphere and are detected by their neighbors.

One of the major findings from the study is that when plants are under attack the compounds released become more similar between species suggesting a type of cross species communication.

The Author of the study Andre Kessler describes the results of the study as follows:

“What we very often see when plants get attacked by pathogens or herbivores is, they change their metabolism,” Kessler said. “But it’s not a random change — in fact, those chemical and metabolic changes are also helping them cope with those attackers. It’s very much like our immune system: though plants don’t have antibodies like we have, they can fight back with pretty nasty chemistry.” 2

Interesting stuff.

The article in Science Daily is an easy read and a little splash of color to beat back a dull January day might be just what the doctor ordered.

Courtesy of none other than….Plants!

References:
1. Aino Kalske, Kaori Shiojiri, Akane Uesugi, Yuzu Sakata, Kimberly Morrell, André Kessler. Insect Herbivory Selects for Volatile-Mediated Plant-Plant Communication. Current Biology, 2019; 29 (18): 3128 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.011

2.Cornell University. “Plants alert neighbors to threats using common ‘language’.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2019. .

Towards meadows edge

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On a silent morning we stopped and spent some time in the heart of a meadow looking out towards the edge.  To the northwest, mountains rise as skies clear all the while  clouds and snow roll in right above.

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With just a slight turn the mood quickly changes with a dusting of white to the north…

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…and to the west a river meanders south and heavy clouds lie overhead…

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…to the east the hills rolled as the skies above.

As the day progressed the skies cleared and sun shone bright yet what lingers inside is the views towards the meadows edge.

This year: One book at a time.


We don’t know about you but we tend to get over ambitious at times with books, especially reading them. Five or six books sitting proudly on the coffee table in living room each with a bookmark placed about 1/3 into the book. Each book calling your name when you plop down on the sofa to relax. You sit and stare back at them silently wondering how you will finish them all before they are due at the library. You get through one or two wonderful books but always feel like your not reading enough as you solemnly remove the bookmarks form the remaining three and whisk them off and into the return slot at the library. So this year it’s only one book at a time- from front to back- all the way though.

We recently came across a wonderful four part series on the best nature books of 2019 written by the Chicago Review of Books

. It is a very diverse list of nature books that will provide us some guidance in choosing and reading our one-book-at-a time in 2020.

Here are links to each of the four posts. The author of the articles Amy Brady stated in the part four of this series that this year has been the best in recent memory for nature writing. Looking though the lists is almost as fun as reading the books listed.
Part Four
Part Three
Part Two
Part One

Anything catch your eye as a first read from these lists. Maybe because it’s winter and darkness comes early the book Dark Skies: a journey into the wild night By Tiffany Francis-Baker sounds like it might be first up this year.

Success Stories: National Geographic

More good news stories for 2019 this time from National Geographic in an article titled “Wildlife wins: 7 good-news stories from 2019“. The article begins with an all to often heard hours of

Optimism can be in short supply when it comes to wildlife and conservation.

Going on describe several events that are disconcerting to those who consider conservation a worthy cause including the following events:

Masai giraffes were declared endangered, fires in the Amazon devastated jaguars, turtles, and other wildlife, and cheetah researchers accused of spying were sentenced to years in prison in Iran. Demand for wildlife and wildlife products—such as pet turtles, lion bone, and shatoosh, scarves made from the fleece of rare Tibetan antelopes—is thought to be on the rise”

Conversely and giving us a bit of hope the main focus of the article presents several key victories in the conservation of species and preservation of wildlife around the globe. Another article that both gives hope yet points that there is still no reason take pause in the fight for conservation of non-human life on the planet.