Friday, August 7, 2015

In the News: Roots in the Past

Fig.1 Diverse forest canopy fruit from Barro Colorado Island, Panama (Credit: Christian Ziegler, 2006

Biodiversity protection is the key to a healthy planet, from sustaining agriculture to maintaining ecosystems. This week, we learned how ancient developments affected modern day plants and why preserving species today will provide a snapshot into the past. Read theses articles, and more, for today's Follow Friday: 

  • A tiny, wild tomato is the ancestor to all tomato varieties we enjoy today, yet is quickly vanishing due to habitat loss and a lack of conservation efforts: “Why Is This Wild, Pea-Sized Tomato So Important? Smithsonian Magazine (22 July 2015)

  • Between underground forests and 22 previously undiscovered species, these botanists had access to one of the least collected areas of Africa: “Angola’s Hidden Flora,” Kew Science (06 July 2015)

  • The Atlas of Living Australia, an online repository with information on Australia’s biodiversity, is teaming up with Aboriginal communities to connect ecology to a wealth of cultural knowledge: “Putting Australian Indigenous Knowledge On The World Map,” ECOS (28 July 2015)

  • The ancient transition from oceans to land meant plants needed a new way to absorb light. It was probably algae - not the previously thought bacteria - that had the necessary genes for plants to make the move: “Plant Light Sensors Came From Ancient Algae,” Duke Today (27 July 2015) 

  • Recent research into ancient agriculture highlights an interesting difference between early farmers in the New World and the Old World: “Early Agriculture In The Old And New Worlds,” Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog (25 July 2015)

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