Chestnut Blight Changes

Collaborative research conducted by scientists from U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and scientists from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), funded by the American Chestnut Foundation has found that the addition of a gene from a wheat variety to the American Chestnut’s genome produces increased resistance…

Bladderwort Biology

Utricularia gibba, commonly known as the humped bladderwort, is a carnivorous, obligate wetland plant native to most of the contiguous United States. A study recently published in the Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution investigates the unique genome of this aquatic plant. What sets the bladderwort’s genome apart from other plants is its ratio of…

Wildfire Fighting Funds

A bill introduced at the beginning of January by representatives from Idaho and Oregon aims to change the way the federal government budgets for suppression, control and fighting wildfires. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 (H.R. 167) would end the need to transfer funds from critical forest conservation and management programs. Florida State Forester and President of…

Cork Tree Caution

The cork tree, a broad-leaved evergreen, found throughout southwestern Europe and into northwestern Africa in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, is actually a member of the oak family. Also called the cork oak, Quercus suber, is a unique and valuable species. The cork is actually produced beneath the thick, dark grey, knobby bark…

American Eagle Achievement

The symbol of U.S. freedom, the American bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, has gone from the brink of extinction to a burgeoning population in under 50 years thanks to help and protection from the Endangered Species Act. This holiday week seems like a portentous time to announce that after years of decline due to habitat degradation and disappearance,…

Building a Bionic Leaf

A collaboration between scientists at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering claims to have developed a bionic leaf. Using bacterium the artificial vegetation is turning sunlight into liquid fuel. Once the bionic leaf splits water into hydrogen and oxygen the soil bacterium Ralstonia eutropha consumes the hydrogen gas converting it into protons…

Sea Slug Specializations

After years of research scientists have discovered a sea slug which is able to integrate genes from the algae it ingests and use them to perform photosynthetic processes, similar to a plant. The emerald green sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, is able to photosynthesize using the algal genes and can survive for months solely on energy produced…

Strain from Stress?

Colony collapse has been a hot topic since the large decline of honeybee populations was noted several years ago. Since then many theories postulating various causes have made the rounds, each one has its merits and detractors and in the end it is possible that all are contributing factors. The most recent theory suggests that stress…

Corrections via Cloning-Tree Pests

Researchers at the University of Georgia have successfully cryogenically frozen germplasm from hemlock trees being wiped out around the country by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. This may be the first step in eliminating these invasive tree pests. Their method includes a new way of cloning the few trees they have found that are actually fighting off…