Botany is the field of basic biological science that focuses on the study and inquiry into the growth, form, structure and function, development, diversity, reproduction, evolution, and uses of plants; and their interactions within the biosphere. The term botany derives from the Latin botanicus and the Greek botane, both meaning plant or herb. The field is known also as plant science, phytology, or plant biology. Additional foci include plant physiology and metabolism, diseases, phycology and mycology, chemical properties, taxonomy and systematics, molecular biology, and paleobotany.
Botany traces its beginnings to human activity designed to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. It is one of the earliest sciences.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health problems. This article, written by Dr. Luz Claudio*, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the...
Central tall grasslandsLast Updated on 2014-03-04 17:13:01The Central tall grasslands extend over southern Minnesota, most of Iowa, an element of eastern South Dakota, and present as a narrow finger through eastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas in the USA. This ecoregion is within the Nearctic ecoregion category. The tallgrass prairie of the USA and Canada is divided into three ecoregions: the Central, Northern, and Flint Hills tall grasslands. Agricultural conversion and development of wind farms have brought considerable habitat destruction to this ecoregion.
The Central tall grasslands are the most mesichabitat characterized by moderate soil moisture of the grasslands of the central plains of North America. It can be distinguished from other grassland associations by the dominance of tallgrass species–a feature once relatively uniform across its range–and by the highest levels of precipitation (100 centimeters per... More »
Alberta Mountain forestsLast Updated on 2014-03-01 17:11:36This ecoregion lies almost wholly within Alberta but hugs the Alberta-British Columbia border from Banff northward to Jasper and Kakwa.
Mean annual temperature in the Eastern Continental Ranges is 2.5°C, mean summer temperature is 12°C and mean winter temperature is -7.5°C. Precipitation increases from east to west with elevation, from 600-800 millimeters (mm) per year. Valley regions are marked by warm, dry summers and mild, snowy winters, and subalpine areas have cool, showery summers and cold, snowy winters.
This region covers the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, incorporating the eastern flanks of the Continental Ranges. The major peaks cluster around the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. The ranges themselves are linear with great cliffs and precipitous faces of thick sections of gray carbonate strata, and peaked by rock... More »
Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundraLast Updated on 2014-02-02 17:08:35
This ecoregion consists of five island groups spread out across the Southern Ocean: Bounty Islands, Auckland Islands, Antipodes Islands, Campbell Island, and Macquarie Island. Their remote location means they are critically important as resting and breeding areas for thousands of marine mammals and millions of seabirds. Biological and geological values are outstanding, with the islands boasting a highly endemic plant flora and a range of endemic and endangered birds. All of the islands are Nature Reserves and listed as World Heritage Sites, but introduced animals, especially mammalian predators, are of serious concern.
Scattered throughout the Southern Ocean, these islands range from the cold temperate zone (Macquarie Island) to the cool temperate zone, where the rest of the islands lie. All the islands are situated between the Antarctic and Sub-tropical Convergences. Area,... More »
RespirationLast Updated on 2014-01-31 16:43:42Respiration is the gas exchange effected by living organisms for the purpose of sustaining vital metabolic processes. In the case of most animals, oxygen is taken into the organism, and carbon dioxide is expelled. In the case of plants, the inverse process occurs of consuming carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen as a waste gas.
Respiration may also be viewed at a cellular level, examining gas exchange at the cell wall; for very simple organisms, such as unicellular lifeforms, the process of gas exchange with the environment is simplified, so that cellular wall gas exchange is the totality of respiration for such an organism.
In the case of some bacteria and archaea, respiration sometimes occurs without any oxygen, and alternative molecular gases such as hydrogen sulfide or methane may participate in respiration and subsequent cellular metabolic reactions. Often such organisms are... More »
Leather OakLast Updated on 2014-01-18 12:16:02
The Leather Oak, a California endemic, occurs primarily in the California interior chaparral and woodlands ecoregion. It is a species with strong affinity for ultramafic soils, a geochemical class of high magnesium, low calcium and nutrient deficient media. In appearance this is a shrub-like tree whose leathery leaves reveal its common name and obvious membership in the sclerophyll vegetation category, a morphological class of hard leaved species that may occur in such diverse places as Australia, Southern Africa, the Chilean matorral and the Mediterranean Basin as well as the California Floristic Province.
Q durata has two recognized varieties:
* var. durata, occurs at elevation 150 to 1500 m in the California North and South Coast Ranges, San Francisco Bay Area and northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Upper leaf sufaces of this variety are severely... More »
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