photosynthetic colour change. photos (click pic) by: 1. justin schmauser; 2. torsten silz; 3. zoomboy1; 4. justin schmauser; 5. anymotion; 6. jim bolden sr.; 7. jaqueline d’ella; 8. zoomboy1: 9. justin schmauser; 10. alister c.
Fall is coming to an end, the sun sinks lower every day, and the chill of early winter has fallen across much of the northern hemisphere.
That means that, in places where leaves actually change color (AKA “not in Austin, where I live”), green has long given way to fiery reds and oranges, and that fire has since fallen to the ground, extinguished by garden rakes or decomposition, or blown out by brisk winds.
Hold on to these macro photos of color-changing leaves as a memory of the passing season. As the days have grown shorter, these plants have stopped producing as much green chlorophyll, and their carotenoids and anthocyanins shine through in bright canary and deep vermillion hues. You can also observe their veins, weaving beneath the leaf’s scaly epidermis, cutting cracks like a drying desert pond.
Here’s a less poetic diagram:
This is the beauty that lies in knowing, the science in the details, the wonder of the changing seasons.
If you delight in all nature’s forms most beautiful, you’d be well served to follow artist Michelle Anderst.
This is from her series symbolizing decomposition, and the inter-species, cross-domain symbioses that recycle all of life’s sculpture and ornament back to the palette of organic materials, ready to paint life anew.
The rest of her collection is just as fantastic, from floral anatomy to astronomical terrariums. I love.
What if Animals Were Round?
We’ve moved on from the circle of life to the bouncing, awkwardly clumsy sphere of life. Hilarious stuff from Rollin’ Wild.
This is begging for a David Attenborough narration.
Although not as funny, or bouncy, the slow-motion reality of a running cheetah is equally enjoyable.
I’m Pollen For You
It’s a lot prettier when it’s on paper rather than launching your sinuses into full revolt and unleashing a Niagara Falls-level torrent of snotty discomfort, eh?
Pollen is strange stuff. Although many pollen grains are only a few millionths of a meter across, plants sculpt remarkably intricate and diverse suits of armor for these mobile gametes, having evolved a remarkable variation of symmetries.
To deliver a plant’s male genetic material to female plant parts, it’s got to be both sticky and tough. Within the pollen grain, a dormant cell lies poised for division, ready to burrow a pollen tube toward the seed ovum when it finds the right female parts. Surrounding that hibernating genetic material are two layers of protection: cellulose-rich intine and sporopollenin-sculpted exine.
So tough are those outer layers, so effectively do they protect the cells within, that pollen grains can be used to study everything from crime scenes to ancient climates. The spores below have survived more than 400 million years, dating from a time when plants had just invaded land and begun to reach up toward the sun:
Illustrations up top are from Ueber de Pollen, by Carl Julius Fritzsche (1837). If you speak German, there’s more small wonder for you here.
(via Public Domain Review)
Before starlings roost, their maneuvers create mesmerizing aerial displays. To achieve synchronicity, each bird shadows seven of its nearest neighbors. EARTHFLIGHT: Europe on NATURE on PBS (check local listings) or watch the full episode of EARTHFLIGHT online.
Hey bunny moth (Periphoba arcaei), how do you feel about the new YouTube comment system?
I know, I know. Change is never easy. But I guess they’re gonna make Google+ happen whether we like it or not.
(Seriously, though … if you guys are running into trouble leaving comments on videos or not getting them approved, let me know. It’s equally confusing for me)
If you’d like to learn more about this adorable little fuzzy moth, including watching it strike a much scarier pose, head over to Nash Turley’s blog.