Biology

Biology focuses on a single living organism at a time, examining the life stages, reproduction, morphology and range. In the case of fauna, there is considerable attention to the motor and social behavior of each species. For both animals and plants, biologists examine carefully the relationship of organisms to nutrient sources. Subject species may be microscopic as small as bacteria, or include the largest creatures ever known, such as present day cetaceans or extinct dinosaurs. Some biology studies focus on the reconstruction of events deep back into prehistory, while other research is preoccupied with events that are happening today and forward into the future.

  • Urushiol Featured Article Urushiol Urushiol

    Introduction Urushiol is an oily toxin produced by plants in the cashew family (anacardiaceae).  These plants include poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, and... More »

  • Flora of Napa County, California Featured Article Flora of Napa County, California Flora of Napa County, California

    Napa County is a rural county in northern California encompassing nearly 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares), about 0.5 % of the landmass of the state. It is located 25 miles (40... More »

  • Geophony, Biophony, and Anthrophony Featured Article Geophony, Biophony, and Anthrophony Geophony, Biophony, and Anthrophony

    What do these words mean? Biophony is the melodic sound created by such organisms as frogs and birds; geophony, the composition of non-biological sounds like wind, rain and... More »

  • Invasive Plant Abundance Featured Article Invasive Plant Abundance Invasive Plant Abundance

    Home and Away: Are Invasive Plant Species Really That Special? Invasive plants are a major environmental problem--but how abundant are they? Invasive plant species... More »

  • Benthos Featured Article Benthos Benthos

    Benthos is one of three major ecological groups into which marine organisms are divided, the other two being the nekton and the plankton. The benthos are organisms and... More »

  • Virus Featured Article Virus Virus

    A virus is a microscopic organism that can replicate only inside the cells of a host organism. Most viruses are so tiny they are only observable with at least a conventional... More »

  • Algae Featured Article Algae Algae

    Algae comprise a diverse group of typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms. The largest and most complex marine forms are generally... More »

  • Mutation Featured Article Mutation Mutation

    A mutation is an alteration of the genomic sequence of DNA molecules. Mutations may cause altered function in the affected organism, or may cause alteration of inherited traits of... More »

  • Wind turbine bird mortality Featured Article Wind turbine bird mortality Wind turbine bird mortality

    Wind turbine bird mortality is a by-product of large scale wind farms, which are increasingly promoted as an alternative to fossil fuel derived energy production. To adequately... More »

Recently Updated
Wildlife Last Updated on 2014-12-07 15:36:41 Wildlife refers to the animals and related plants in a state of nature, or the species of fauna that are not domesticated or tame and are also indigenous to an area, region or range. The expression is relatively recent in origin dating to Richard Jefferies' 1879 work discussing the various animal species in the Wiltshire Downs in southern Britain. Jefferies insisted, “glance into the hedgerow, the copse, or stream,” and “there" you find  "nature’s children as unrestrained in their wild, free life as they were in the …backwoods of primitive England.” The term wildling is much older, however, as is wildness from which wildlife is derivative, being used for example by William Shakespeare to refer to those qualities of living things not under the influence or control of humans. Charles Darwin when referring to artificial selection... More »
Wind turbine bird mortality Last Updated on 2014-11-30 21:32:32 Wind turbine bird mortality is a by-product of large scale wind farms, which are increasingly promoted as an alternative to fossil fuel derived energy production. To adequately assess the extent of impact to avian populations, deeper factors than gross mortality by turbine action must be assessed. In particular, one must examine: (a) impacts to threatened bird species, (b) total impacts due to avian habitat loss as well as direct mechanical kill, (c) ecological impacts due to apex predator bird loss and (d) future siting decisions for windfarms, since much of the prior bird mortality is due to poor siting decisions.  Bird mortality from wind turbines is a significant adverse ecological impact, and threatens to expand in scope dramatically with the rush to develop new energy sources. This impact is measured as high due to the loss of threatened species and due to... More »
Asteraceae: The sunflower family Last Updated on 2014-10-07 21:50:48 Asteraceae, also called Compositae, is one of the largest angiospermic plant families among the dicotyledonous, based on the large number of species (1,620 genera and 23,600 species) that represent this plant family with cosmopolitan distribution (Funk et al.,2005). Constituting almost 10% of all flowering plants worldwide, Asteraceae is usually divided into 12 subfamilies (Funk et al., 2009). Except for Antarctica, the family is most abundant in the sub-tropical and temperate latitudes, occurring commonly across meadows, valleys, grassy plains, rolling plateaus, and mountainous slopes (Funk et al., 2005 ; Bayer et al., 2007). It includes edible, medicinal, noxious, invasive and endangered species (Heywood et al., 2007). The majority of plant members representing this family are herbaceous in nature, but shrubs and trees, as well as creepers and climbers, are also... More »
Biomass Last Updated on 2014-09-30 22:09:21 Biomass is a term in ecology for the  mass of living organisms in a given ecosystem.  Biomass can refer to the living stock of species in a given habitat, but can also refer to a harvested subset or to a decaying subset (especially in the case of forest floor detritus). Biomass may refer to the total mass of all species within the study area, and is thus sometimes called community biomass; but biomass may also refer to a taxonomic subset. Biomass can be expressed as the average mass per unit area or unit volume, or simply as the total mass in the community. Plants characteristically comprise the greatest part of the biomass of terrestrial system. In the animal kingdom, iIronically, the smallest creatures in an ecosystem typically represent the largest quantity of its biomass. It is important to note that the relative biomass species mix may change considerably from season... More »
Arecaceae: The Majestic Family of Palms Last Updated on 2014-09-25 11:35:18 Arecaceae (Syn. Palmae) is a monocotyledonous plant family containing species of tropical climbers, shrubs and trees commonly known as Palm trees or simply Palms (Figs 1-3). The Arecaceae is a monotypic family in the order Arecales. The family contains several commercially important species such as coconuts, area nuts and date palms, as well as a large number of indoor and ornamental species. Palms are commonly cultivated and well known horticulturally across the planet. Palms are most conspicuous in coastal areas in tropical and sub-tropical ecological zones as well as in the Arabian deserts and throughout the continents of Africa, Latin America, South and South-East Asia, Oceania and coastal US and adjoining island groups. Palms are also common in tropical evergreen forests and in every available ecological habitat in the tropics and sub-tropics covering a... More »