Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A post! Life in the greenhouse

As it happens every semester, I get swamped. But I haven't balanced the busy with the relaxing and trying to remedy that. 

First is spending time with plants. Easy. Go up in the greenhouse. The second will be to get out in the field. Let's see how that goes. 

Today, I was up to check on a few projects. All are going really well. 

Competition experiment for Ecology. Students plant seeds in different concentrations and combinations and will measure biomass at the end

Persimmon. These were seeds this spring. Looking awesome

Four groups of photosynthetic plants here. Small fern in the top left, liverwort in the top right, there's a moss between the two and down a few cm, then there's an algal film throughout. 

Pawpaw seedlings. These just germinated and they've been sitting in damp soil for weeks. Super excited about these guys. I've never seen a pawpaw in the wild. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Meow meow plague meow

The allusion to Mr. Rogers will only be understandable to those with some gray - like it or not. 

Here's a link to a story about a cat with plague in Colorado. It's out there simmering. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Turtlehead flowers

Turtlehead flower (Chelone glabra) is one of my favorite native plants and I had to get one when I came across individuals for sale (Edge of the Woods has them in Oresville, PA).

When I was walking out to my truck I noticed a bumblebee visiting the plant and it disappeared! Then I noticed a leg sticking out. 

Two petals of the corolla close down like the jaws of an alligator. The bumblebee is large enough that it has the muscle to lift the top and crawl inside. This is just another mechanism that plants use to exclude some pollinators and increase the probability of having a narrower pool of pollinators. This increases the probability that pollen goes from turtlehead to turtlehead. Other mechanisms include corolla length (long corollas are pollinated by long tongued insects, colors, timing of flowering, and even deception). Cool stuff. 

There's a bumblebee in the front flower and you can see one of her black legs sticking out the left side 

Bee leaving 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Jacob's Property wanderings

Explored Jacob's property in Buck Township, PA. Was there for two hours and picked Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, Eastern Phoebe, Olive-Sided Flycatcher (my first in many years), Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Blue Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch (another goodie), White-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blue-headed Warbler, mystery thrush. Swung by the pipeline and the grasses they planted are coming up nicely. 

It was also a great day for fungi! 

Coyotes dispersing seeds to the pipeline right-of-way


Bottle Gentian