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It’s Not Always Pretty – Restoring Native Prairie After the Plow

As the prairie prepares for winter slumber, Ellen Anderson is ramping up her efforts in time for spring. There’s a farmer to hire, a seed mix to order, and lots of paperwork to complete while snow starts to fall outside her home on American Prairie Reserve. 

Genomic Discovery Unearths New Theories on Plant Evolution

Norm Wickett, Ph.D. Conservation Scientist, Genomics and Bioinformatics Chicago Botanic Garden I have always been fascinated by natural history and evolution. As a conservation scientist in genomics and bioinformatics at the Chicago Botanic Garden, I work to understand how plants – aquatic and terrestrial – all fit together in the biological tree of life. We…

What Plant Fossils Can Tell Us About Life on Earth

Gregory M. Mueller, Ph.D. Chief Scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President of Science Chicago Botanic Garden Fresh off a particularly harsh winter in the Midwest, we at the Chicago Botanic Garden are excitedly watching the flowers in our 30 gardens and natural habitat areas as they continue to bloom. The grounds at the Garden are…

Plant Blasts Birds With Pollen Using “Bellows”

A rain forest plant baits birds with puffy treats, then blasts any takers with pollen—a unique discovery, a new study says.

Geography in the News: Svalbard Global Seed Vault

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Svalbard’s “Doomsday Seed Vault” The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, nicknamed the “Doomsday Seed Vault” by some, has opened its doors and is accepting seeds. The seed vault was created to preserve samples of seeds from around the world to protect the earth’s crop diversity.…

The Top of the IUCN Red List

The 61 Most-Threatened Species: Identifying a definitive list of the most threatened species is a difficult and sensitive exercise. Although lists are popular and useful, a comprehensive list of the Most Threatened Species depends on what you think makes a species most at risk of extinction and could conceivable contain all 4,286 Critically Endangered species…

Exploring Montana’s Sea of Grass

By Ellen Anderson, American Prairie Reserve –  In prairie ecosystems, it is difficult to see the biodiversity that is there from the window of a vehicle, even for people who are plant nerds like my husband Lars and me. Who can really distinguish different grass species without walking out into the prairie? Once we throw…

Strange “Fairy Rings” in Seafloor Explained

Seafloor “fairy rings” that have stumped scientists have their roots in a toxic plant-killer, a new study says.

NASA May Test Its Lunar Green Thumb

If all goes as planned, NASA may land its first experimental garden on the moon in late 2015. Scientists at the Ames Research Center in California are putting together the “Lunar Plant Growth Habitat” project with the hopes of sending an automated small greenhouse (complete with turnips, basil and flower seeds) to the moon in…

New Species of Fuzzy Daisy and Other Furry Flora

A new species of fuzzy daisy discovered in the Venezuelan Andes joins a cadre of fuzzy flora.

Bats Use Rolled-Up Leaves as “Trumpets”

A species of tiny bat seems to be using rolled-up leaves like trumpets to amplify its voice, a new study says.

Remembering Two Field Biology Pioneers

Twenty years ago this month, the conservation community and the world suffered a tragic loss when a small plane flying out of the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador crashed into a cloud-covered mountain.

Plants “Hear” Herbivores Coming—and Prepare

New research shows that plants ‘eavesdrop’ on their attackers to help defend themselves.

Top 10 Headlines Today: Plants Perform Arithmetic, Dangerous H7N9 Flu…

The top stories on National Geographic’s radar today: Scientists find that plants perform mathematical calculations, researchers warn of the dangers of the H7N9 flu, and…

Studies Link Warming to Increased Weather Extremes

A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds global temperatures to be one of the best predictors of hurricane activity. In fact, the PNAS study found that a one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures could multiply the frequency of Katrina-like storms by two to seven times. In the Arctic, melting sea ice—which reached its sixth lowest…