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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

 

 

Web of life is such complex relationship where species drawing benefits from realities of life (of which death is but one) can go on along the line to support many other. For example a felled Douglas fir serves a purpose just as it alive would have done.

A Douglas fir alive would have held insects in check because of its sap; but when dead invites marauding insect- armies which turn it into a spongy mass. Even at this stage it can soak up moisture and store it away. In the process it renews forest soil.

A felled log has its uses considering the number of small organisms that live therein. Douglas Fir in a temperate climate holds immense colonies starting with folding-door spider, which builds its nest along the cracks in the bark to its centre where a black heart rot fungi will have a continual feast on the heartwood; meanwhile prowlers like centipedes, earwigs and pseudo-scorpions scavenge among loose bark for a meal or two.

Logs that fall into streams instead on the forest ground are not wasted. Logs rot in water and create pools retard erosion and enrich fisheries. Logs thudding into streams create condition for Coho salmon and steelhead that drop in attracted by cool oxygen-rich water. They also find plenty of aquatic insects that thrive in the clean water.

 

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When we speak of  web of life it would also mean all  the  conditions and circumstances that support life. It could be from elements spewed out at the death of stars; it could be in the formation of  atmosphere and from interaction of land mass, ocean and atmosphere. Earth is a living planet and many systems are created in the process of its stabilization to make life appear as it did. Our planet occupies an intergalactic node but it also have many lateral webs of which the role of fungi is as vital as trees or plants..

Discovery

Associations of fungi with the roots of plants have been known since at least the mid-19th century. However early observers simply recorded the fact without investigating the relationships between the two organisms. This symbiosis was studied and described by Franciszek Kamieński in 1879–1882. Further research was carried out by Albert Bernhard Frank, who introduced the term mycorrhiza 1885.

 Mycorrhiza is a association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular (relating to water  or nutrient carrying ) plant. The fungus sends out network of  filaments  connecting with the host plant’s roots. It serves a vital purpose enriching soil life and its chemistry. In turn these filaments or hyphae transfer soil nutrients to host plants. In woodlands owing to the abundance of trees fungi have a wide host range. Fungi have been found to have a protective role for plants rooted in soils with high metal concentrations, such as acidic and contaminated soils.

Fungus Laccaria bicolor has been found to lure and kill springtails to obtain nitrogen, some of which may then be transferred to the mycorrhizal host plant. In a study by Klironomos and Hart, Eastern White Pine inoculated with L. bicolor was able to derive up to 25% of its nitrogen from springtails.

 

 Nutrients can be shown to move between different plants through the fungal network. Carbon has been shown to move from paper birch trees into Douglas-fir trees thereby promoting succession in ecosystems.

These filaments have shown ability to sense the presence of other filaments. Mycorrhizas are present in 92% of plant families studied 80% of species.

The point to remember is that not a single species stand by itself and its survival depends on many other branches in the web of life.(ack: wikipedia,National Geographic Magazine)

benny

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Nature has allowed two way communication whereby the user and the used benefit in a manner beneficial to both. Alas, man seems to think taking is the mark of a man on the go, while giving makes him a wimp. He takes natural resources of the earth as though he may cash them with impunity, but when severe drought stalks the land while the seasonal rains are expected, he knows it is a signal for the end times. There are things he can give to the world to his profit, and take lessons of Nature with all due humility that before laws of Nature he is of equal weight as humble bees and earthworms. 

“The co-evolution between flowers and bees has a long and beneficial history, so perhaps it’s not entirely surprising that we are still discovering today how remarkably sophisticated their communication is,” Professor Daniel Robert, from the University of Bristol team concludes after studying their interaction and the research was published in the month of February,  online edition of the journal Science.

Some of the points are as follows:

Plants are known to emit weak negatively charged electric fields, and bees acquire a positive charge of up to 200 volts as they fly through the air.

How do the bees and the plants communicate? They communicate by electric signals.

As a charged bee approaches a flower, the difference in electrical potential is not enough to produce sparks, but can be felt by the insect.

The researchers investigated the signals by placing electrodes in the stems of petunias.

They found that when a bee landed on a flower, the plant’s electrical potential changed and remained altered for several minutes.

This could be a way of letting a bee know it is landing on a flower that has already been visited and lost its nectar, the scientists speculate. Surprising fact is bumblebees also have this ability .They also can detect it from change in color.

How bees detect the fields is unknown, but the researchers suspect the electrostatic force might make their hair bristle. A similar hair-raising effect is seen when placing one’s head close to an old-style TV screen.(ack: the Guardian,21 Feb,2013)

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landscape with water

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The Secret Of the Rainforests

In a rainforest the ground cover receives only filtered sunlight. Whereas plants in the middle growing from branches of trees get more share of light. They get light but not as much as trees at the crown. These tree canopies receive sunshine directly from sunrise to sundown. If the ground cover and plant life on the middle were to survive they would require the wind to do its job. The wind has been at work for months and years striking the canopies together gradually wearing away here and there, letting more sunshine in. In time it so does, by a gust of wind some trees shall be sent down, clearing the way for the ground cover to survive; fire also does its own bit. These are not disasters but Nature’s way of clearing the old and useless so the rainforests may still flourish. Do we call the wind as cruel? Or blame the trees for denying the ground cover adequate sunlight?
Nature’s way of things in this instance can be applied to life of every man and woman. Change is a secret. It has its own rules. But rules apply on physical realm where everything changes. Our youth is no guarantee; much less can we crow about our material possessions. Happiness is that state of life and keeps itself whole and impervious to changes. It is in fact an higher state of life of working with Nature. We did not came into being by exercising our will; nor will we prevent death from sweeping us away. This too shall soon pass but happiness is placing ourselves beyond the Rule of Changes.

Happiness of trees is regardless of age or external circumstances; we humans are no less special.
benny

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Cosmos and I are bound in ways no logic or reason can explain. To think a rational mind can think everything to its logical conclusion is a folly. Chemistry that makes me thrive does not reason but imposes its will on me nevertheless. I choose my way and if it is proved right way I have to thank only those invisible controls that work in Cosmos. As a caveat to this let me add in fixing the impressions that assail me my reason helps me to be relevant in terms of immediate circumstances and also finetune where it has fallen short.
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Coffee and basil do not complement each other. These have molecules that work opposite to each other. Coffee as a result will taste foul.

Our preferences for persons do not fall within what we would call rational behavior. Love at first sight? (Even before a woman has spoken a word man gets chemical messages: phermeron compounds set off to create signals in the brain.) VNO is located in the lower part of your nose much lower than olfactory cells and are tuned to receive such signals. What does the message say?’ I feel excited!’ Naturally you fall in love. Such chemical communication is intrapersonal and at unconscious level.
If body chemistry work should not I expect to bond with Cosmos in a permanent way? Is there some common ground?
Death of stars gives rise to new stars in cosmos: those elements spewed out of a dying star are what make up calcium in our bones and iron in the blood. Can we think of life on Earth without oxygen? Or for that matter carbon? These two also are by courtesy of a supernova.
In a manner of speaking we are ‘star children’ shaped by stellar events.
If all life forms as well as celestial bodies are evolved out of interstellar gases and dust do we have a specific centre? Every element in our body has been a wanderer among clouds of interstellar gas, and having come together by some sort of an arrangement should we not have been equally at home in cosmos as well?
To all intents and purpose we consider the Earth as our home and millennia of living here has shut out much of our cosmic ancestry; and in compensation we have acquired an ability to live on the Earth.
Our chemical ancestry is little understood and we think earth in terms of material aspects. Our thoughts ride on the wing of non material cues. If I smell chestnut being roasted around I am feeling homesick already of eating it in the special way mother baked for children. My thoughts are teased our by it. Time is compressed and also space. On the wings of chemical molecules homesickness spreads its wings. The fault is not in our stars but body chemistry. My body is shaped from Cosmos and my thoughts can leapfrog over reason despite what some skeptics might say. They cannot think straight and without the aid of material proof.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
benny

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