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Posted on Sunday, June 23 - 2013

Scientists have discovered evidence that plants are capable of complex mathematical calculations.The startling revelation relates to the way in which plants carry out calculations each night in order to ration their stores of starch until the Sun comes up. To do this, they divide the amount of starch by the number of hours left until the morning, thus allowing them to avoid starvation. The find is the first known example of such calculations being conducted innature without the use of brain cells."The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity," said biologist Prof Alison Smith.

"The calculations are precise so that plants prevent starvation but also make the most efficient use of their food. If the starch store is used too fast, plants will starve and stop growing during the night. If the store is used too slowly, some of it will be wasted." "In order to keep themselves going in the absence of sunlight, plants performdivision equations throughout the night to ration their stores of starch until the moment the sun reappears."  

View: Full article |  Source: Telegraph  

Views : 76

Posted on Friday, June 14 - 2013

Wildfires beneath the jungle canopy are proving more destructive than human deforestation.Previously undetectable below the trees, the extent of the fires has only now been revealed thanks to a new satellite imaging technique. Unlike fires that sweep across the Amazon"s grassy areas, the "understory" wildfires can burn undetected and cause massive damage. Between 1999 and 2010 it is believed that33,000 square miles of forest was burned in this way, an area larger that the State of South Carolina."Amazon forests are quite vulnerable to fire, given the frequency of ignitions for deforestation and land management at the forest frontier, but we"ve never known the regional extent or frequency of these understory fires," said researcher Doug Morton.

"A new satellite imaging technique has allowed scientists to see Amazonian fires burningbeneath the jungle canopy, called "understory fires," which were previously difficult to detect."  

View: Full article |  Source: Live Science  

Views : 94

Posted on Friday, May 31 - 2013

With a global decline in pollinators, many plant species will either have to adapt or face extinction.The issue is of particular importance due to the potential for food shortages if certain types of crops are unable to be pollinated. Some flowering plants could adapt by either evolving a strategy to self-pollinate or to forge tighter bonds with the pollinators that do remain while othersthat fail on both counts could end up disappearing entirely."For (some) plant populations adaptation to pollinator decline could not be possible at all because of the lack of genetic variance," said researcher Pierre-Olivier Cheptou.

"We don"t know what proportion of flowering plants could indeed adapt to the loss of pollinators." "The global decline in pollinators - both wild and domesticated - has scientists wondering if plants willadapt or die -- and the fate of a lot of our food hangs in the balance."  

View: Full article |  Source: Discovery News  

Views : 69

Posted on Tuesday, March 19 - 2013

Earthquakes could play a significant role in the formation of gold deposits, say researchers.Gold is deposited when rock fractures filled with water widen during an earthquake and the drop in pressure causes dissolved gold to leak out. While most of the world"s gold was formed up to three billion years ago during the formation of mountains the process could occur ona small scale almost instantaneously under the right conditions during seismic activity."When we know what forms a deposit, we can go looking for ancillary tell-tale signs of where those kind of mechanisms may have been occurring both in the recent past and through geological time," said Dr.

Dion Weatherley. "This may assist in future gold exploration efforts." Gold could be deposited almost instantaneously inthe Earth"s crust during earthquakes, say Australian researchers.  

View: Full article |  Source: CBC.ca  

Views : 253


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