Nature’s Depths

Walking through nature with John Palka, a neuroscientist who loves plants and ponders big questions

Red admiral, top view

The Magic of Butterfly Wings

Exploration

From spring to fall, if you’re lucky, you can revel in the sight of butterflies. They can be found in gardens, in the woods, in meadows—anywhere where there is sunshine and where they can forage for the nectar produced by flowers. Let’s look at the stunning patterns on their wings and ask how these patterns arise.

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Hoh River nurse log

Nurse Logs

Exploration

Take a walk in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest and you will probably come across trees literally growing on trees. . . It’s a dramatic sight, sometimes with almost mythic overtones. But what is going on, really, and why?

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