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Truly Amazing Mangroves

Truly Amazing Mangroves

Adaptions allowing mangroves to populate intertidal areas including aerial stilt roots, pneumatophores, ways of disposing of excess salt and ways of conserving water. Features of red, black, white mangroves and buttonwoods and their zonation in mangrove forests. Seedlings of different mangrove species and their dispersal. How seedlings grow on parent trees before dropping off. Benefits to communities.

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Origins of Plants on Land

Origins of Plants on Land

The evolution of prokaryotic bacteria in ancient seas 3.8 billion years ago; how cyanobacteria evolved to use visible light as a source of energy; the appearance of stromatolites in ancient seas; how the evolution of eukaroyotic cells led to the appearance of sea algae; how sea algae adapted to living on land to form the first land plants, the bryophytes. Some adaptions that prevent the dessication of bryophytes.

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Seed Dispersal by Fire

Seed Dispersal by Fire

This article discusses ways in which plants have adapted to disperse their seeds after fire has destroyed the landscape. Species explored include the Lodgepole pine trees and two Banksia species from Australia; how seeds disperse through the effects of smoke shock (Whispering Bells) and heat shock (Sweet Wattle) following forest fires; how species indirectly benefit from forest fires to help disperse their seeds.

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Spores, Sphagnum Moss and Peatlands

Spores, Sphagnum Moss and Peatlands

Sphagnum Moss and how its spores accelerate incredibly fast; how Sphagnum moss reproduces and preferred habitats; how peat forms from Sphagnum moss; the formation of Sphagnum peatlands by two different processes which include terrestrialization and paludification; blanket bogs and raised peat bogs; some organisms which inhabit these peatlands; conditions in which Sphagnum peatlands thrive.

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The Common Coconut

The Common Coconut

An explanation of the pollination, seed dispersal by water and gravity, germination and growth of the common coconut or Cocos nucifera; how people use the common coconut and the main reasons for its amazingly wide dispersal; how the coconut fruit is actually a ‘dry drupe’ and has some things in common with peaches and other fleshy fruits; how the male and female flowers develop inside a sheathe.

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Coco de Mer Palm Tree

Coco de Mer Palm Tree

The evolution, growth, pollination and seed dispersal of the Coco de Mer palm tree; how the Coco de Mer evolved over millions of years in the tropical rainforests of the Seychelles; discovery of the palm tree; the unusual way in which the Coco de Mer nut germinates; how nuts become infertile and how they reach the Maldives on ocean currents; the evolutionary pressures to grow bigger and bigger seeds.

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Seed Dispersal- on the Wind

Seed Dispersal- on the Wind

This article investigates different ways in which plants disperse their seeds using the wind. Different methods of wind dispersal are explained including gliding, parachuting, autorotating, spinning/fluttering and tumbling. Examples are provided for each different method including the flying seeds of Javan Cucumber Vines. Botanical terms are explained including the ‘papus’, ‘achene’ and ‘samara’.

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Seed Dispersal by Animals

Seed Dispersal by Animals

An investigation of how plants disperse seeds using animals, birds and other organisms. We look at different ways in which hitchhiker seeds have evolved to attach themselves to the bodies of animals and birds; we examine how organisms eat the fruits of plants containing seeds and later excrete the seeds which can then germinate; we look at seeds whose primary dispersers are long extinct.

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Pollination by the wind

Pollination by the wind

We learn how pollen can be carried by the wind from male pine cones to fertilize the female pine cones of other pine trees; we learn how wind borne pollen fertilizes some types of plants and that the flowers of such plants are not attractive to insects; we look at the pollination of grasses and how lawns can spread through underground roots; we take a brief look at the pollination of sea grasses.

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Plant Pollinators

Plant Pollinators

A look at different plant pollinators including pollinating mammals, insects and birds; photo of marigolds taken under visible ‘sunlight’ and ‘ultraviolet’ light showing bees’ ‘landing zones’; detailed close up pictures of a pollinating bat, pollinating ants, honey possums, beetle, mosquito and lizard. We take a brief look at how the structure of different flowers attract different plant pollinators.

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