This terrarium hasn’t been opened in 40 years! It is completely self-sufficient—the bacteria in the compost breaks down dead leaves to give the plants the carbon dioxide they need, and the moisture in the air condenses on the glass and returns to the soil to feed the plants’ roots.
A New Phytopia - Visualising the structures of life.
That title may have read as a rather grand statement but put simply without plants, life as we know it would not exist. From food, to fibre, to the air we breathe we are quite dependent on plants. The unique photos above are the babies of many different plants AKA seeds. This work has been created by academic/artist Rob Kesseler in partnership with the Kew Gardens Millenium Seed Bank.
Phytopia reveals a hidden world lying beyond the scope of the human eye. Working in the liminal territory between Art and Science. Rob K
There are many ways this work is special. First is the location, these seeds are live specimens forming a genetic bank of sorts within the Kew Millennium Seed Bank it’s quite a similar initiative to the Svalbard seed bank. Here these seeds remain protected, stocked in numbers to potentially restore plant populations if required.
Second is due to the way they are photographed by using a scanning electron microscope. Which basically uses a beam of electrons instead of light, giving the extremely fine details we can see above. These images then have layers of colour, specific to their mother plant, added to them. Rob describes this artistic process akin to how plants attract insects to attracting an audience.
Finally is the individual characteristics the photos highlight. Each seed has been honed through hundreds of years of evolution, adapting each one to succeed in a particular strategy of dispersal and growth. This brings home the fact that these plant babies are alive and individual as you or me.
Plants babies under microscope = eye & brain candy.
Geometric Diatom, a microscopic alga, has a silica-coated wall comprised of two overlapping halves, like a box with a lid. Normally golden-brown, it has rainbow hues in this photograph because of the refraction of light.
Took this last night. Rat intestines, 40x, Alcian Blue Stain.
(submitted by mcdorkypants)
Long features dubbed tiger stripes are known to be spewing ice from the moon’s icy interior into space, creating a cloud of fine ice particles over the moon’s South Pole and creating Saturn’s mysterious E-ring. (via APOD: 2014 April 6 - Fresh Tiger Stripes on Saturns Enceladus)
Barrett’s esophagus is diagnosed when simple columnar epithelium with goblet cells replaces the normal stratified squamous epithelium lining of the esophagus. Goblet cells are usually found not in the esophagus but in the lower GI tract. This micrograph shows the Barrett’s esophagus cells on the left and the normal squamous epithelium cells on the right. Barrett’s esophagus is highly linked with esophageal cancer.
Parasitic bacterium turns plants into zombies
BBSRC-funded scientists have discovered how a bacterial parasite turns plants into the living dead.
The bacteria called phytoplasma is able to manipulate the way plants grow, causing infected plants to transform their flowers into leaf tissue. In doing so, the plants are sacrificing their reproductive success and becoming sterile – dead to the future and destined to only benefit the survival of the bacteria parasite (healthy plant seen in the top image and an infected plant can be seen in the middle image).
For the first time scientists can reveal how this remarkable manipulation takes place. The parasitic bacterium produces a protein called SAP54 that tricks the plant into transforming its flowers into leaf-like material. This transformation makes the plant more attractive to leafhoppers for settlement - the bacterium’s next victim and host to be (see leafhopper in image three).
Once an enticed leafhopper eats the infected zombie plant, the bacteria then catches a ride in their saliva on to the next plant they hop on to – starting the cycle all over again.
This research comes from the labs of Professor Hogenhout at John Innes Centre, and Professors Angenent and Immink at Wageningen University.
Images: John Innes Centre
Read more at: http://bit.ly/RNWZn5
For more research on plant infection go to: http://tmblr.co/ZtJ7bq1BM2QXb
(submitted by tanzellanator)
These black roses grow naturally in the tiny village of Halfeti, Turkey. The particular soil conditions and pH levels of the groundwater from the river Euphrates causes the roses to fade from deep crimson to black during the summer. (source)
Anonymous said: Any particular reason for M1 as your icon?
it’s the photo that inspired me to start this blog! i was like WHOA THE UNIVERSE IS P. COOL and the rest is history
a redwood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California
Cross section of Liana stem (climbing tropical plant) (40x) (via Cross section of Liana stem (climbing tropical plant) | Brightfield | Nikon Small World)