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...
Cactaceae: The cactus familyLast Updated on 2015-03-06 11:23:17The Cactaceae is a family belonging to the order Caryophyllales. Cacti typically are found in dry and arid desert or semi-desert regions with high average daytime temperatures and cold nights, and high evaporation rates. Cacti range from Canada to Argentina, predominantly occurring in the warm and arid reaches of the continents of both North and South America across a wide range of different habitats like deserts, sandy coastal stretches, scrublands, dry deciduous forests, high alpine steppes and tropical rain forests (Barthlott and Hunt, 1993; Gibson and Nobel, 1986; Nyffeler, 2001). The main diversity centers are Mexico and south-west USA, central Andes, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina with Mexico being the richest and most endemic region (Boyle and Anderson, 2002; Ortega-Baes and Godínez-Alvarez, 2006). The family is... More »
Combating Hopping PestsLast Updated on 2015-02-28 18:55:12The Mormon cricket is a voracious feeder that wipes out acres of grasses and field crops in no time. When it’s young, it grows so fast that its immune system cannot keep up. ARS scientists are finding that this may be the best time to use biocontrol fungi to target the insect pest.
New Hopes for Combating Hopping Pests
For many Americans, summertime means warm, sunny days spent by the pool or exploring the country and the world. But for farmers, ranchers, scientists, and state pest control organizations in the western half of the country, summer also means a chance of infestations of hopping pests, particularly grasshoppers and Mormon crickets.
Each adult female grasshopper can lay multiple egg pods—each containing many eggs—in one summer, which could greatly increase the population the next summer, after the eggs hatch. This compounding effect could lead... More »
Alberta Mountain forestsLast Updated on 2015-01-16 14:48:16
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection
The Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion lies entirely within Canada and almost fully within the province of Alberta, but hugs the Alberta-British Columbia border from Banff northward to Jasper and Kakwa. The ecoregion is classified within the Temperate Coniferous Forests biome.
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 and also with elevation, from 600-800 millimetres (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... More »
Eastern Canadian forestsLast Updated on 2015-01-09 19:46:14
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection
The Eastern Canadian forests ecoregion is distinguished from the Central Canadian Shield forests by a greater maritime influence, and a dominant tree, Balsam fir, as the climatic climax species. The Eastern Canadian forests, part of the Nearctic Realm, characterise forested land in eastern Quebec, much of Newfoundland, and disjunct occurrences in the highlands of New Brunswick, and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; in all, this ecoregion comprises seven major disjunctive geographic units.
The ecoclimate of this ecoregion ranges from high and mid-boreal and perhumid mid-boreal to Oceanic, Atlantic, and Maritime mid-boreal. Summers are generally cool, with average temperatures ranging between 8.5°C in the north to 14.5°C in the south. Winter temperatures vary according to proximity to the ocean and... More »
Mississippi RiverLast Updated on 2014-11-29 22:15:22The Mississippi River drains the largest river basin in North America, and is one of the major rivers of the world.
The Mississippi River watershed is the fourth largest in the world, extending from the Allegheny Mountains in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The watershed includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provences. The watershed measures approximately 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million square kilometers), covering about 40% of the lower 48 states. The Mississippi drains most of the United States between the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the West.
The mainstream of the Mississippi River has headwaters rising at Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows approximately 2340 miles (3765 km). Though the longest part of the river includes the the Missouri River which flows approximately 2540 miles (4088 km) before joining the... More »
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