Welcome to the second edition of Berry Go Round, the blog carnival dedicated to all things botanical. Since this is still a fairly new carnival, I took the liberty of sampling the blogosphere beyond what was submitted to the carnival.
There were two big news items in the last week – the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life. iPhylo was disappointed: “What frustrates me,” he wrote ” is just how far the first release is from what it could have been.”
Despite the fact that plants are so much cooler than animals, the fact that we are animals colours the way we look at the world. PZ Myers delves into our shared ancestry as he discusses a paper comparing plant and animal development. Sad but true – plant development is a lot easier to understand when presented this way.
Climate change is on many people’s minds these days, but far too rarely do people actually try to see how it will affect actual plant communities. Laurent at Seeds Aside takes a look at a study that transplanted montane species lower down the mountain to simulate global warming.
In the fern department, Emily of No seeds, no fruit, no flowers: no problem explains the fiddlehead and discusses the genus Nephrolepis. Laurent of Seeds Aside looks at evolution in a Chilean fern which grows both in the shade of the forest canopy and exposed in gaps. At A Neotropical Savanna miconia tells the story of her discovery of a Davilla species in “The Sandpaper Plant“. Even someone with no interest in plants would be taken in by her skill in story telling.
Plants are always popular in the food department. Even the most plant-blind person still has to eat them. Archaeozoology documents the history of the potato, a plant that had an important impact on human history. Over at Wiggly Wigglers Karen profiles the Dandelion. Fruit Species profiles the Sugar Apple – Fruity’s coverage of tropical fruit is enough to generate real homesickness. Green Me says “If you love me, give me strawberries” and encourages people to eat organic strawberries. Jamie McIntosh of Suite101: Organic Gardens blog encourages expectant mothers to eat – and garden – organically. In a quest to eat locally produced food, Green Me learns how difficult it is to find non-GM beet sugar. Larry of botanizing marvels at the artichoke and the orchid, while discussing evolutionary history and Darwin. AppleJade talks about getting a jump on spring planting. And It’s Easy Being Green has a review of Michael Pollan’s new book In Defense of Food, while Erin at Gastronormous talks about his earlier book, The Botany of Desire.
Also on the topic of food, Jeremy of the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog discusses his adventures using informatics to stalk wild peanuts – and lays claim to a new verb! At Desertification Willem discusses some of the challenges associated with the important work of promoting local fruit species in Africa. Jan TenBruggencate at Raising Islands talks about the role of seaweed in the diet of ancient Hawai’i.
At its best, the blogosphere is a conversation. I commented on an article in Nature Biotechnology which discusses the evolution of resistance in Bt cotton. Both Tangled Up In Blue Guy and Karl Mogel at the Inoculated Mind discussed some of the implications of the paper. While GM crops are a mixed bag, there are some very real benefits in crops like cotton. It’s also a great example of the application of evolutionary theory to real-world problems. I also discussed a paper on cyclotides, a group of very interesting insecticidal compounds in plants that appear to act by damaging midgut cells in insect larvae, thus stunting their growth.
Finally, there’s no way you can talk about plants without getting into their visual beauty. I could link to any post at Botany Photo of the Day, but I really love today’s Aristolochia elegans. Kallen at Biojournalism welcomes the flowers of Spring. The Reluctant Botanist profiles Alectryon excelsus also known as Titoki or the New Zealand Oak in his “Plant of the Week” feature.
This concludes this edition of Berry Go Round. The next edition will be hosted at Greg Laden’s Blog. You can submit your blog article to the next edition the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found at the Berry Go Round page.