Nature’s Depths

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

Exploration

Pearly everlasting and fritillary, Olympic Mountains

Mountain Meadow Tales – Vibrant Flowers

Exploration

The mountains of the American West are justly famous for their alpine flower meadows, none more so than the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Cascades. . . The flowers are advertising their presence, the pollinators are surveying the territory for potential sources of food, the sensory signals generated by the flowers match the sensory capabilities and behavioral preferences of the pollinators. The outcome is cross-fertilization for the flowers, and nutrition for the pollinators. Is it not a beautiful system?

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Cemetery Woods Indian Pipe Cluster

Indian Pipe and the Forest Underground

Exploration

Indian pipe is a ghostly, fleshy, white-stemmed wraith with a nodding white flower at the tip, poking its way up through the duff of the forest floor. It looks like nothing else in the forest and like nothing in your garden. Its life story illustrates the intricate web of life that exists in the forest.

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Shi-Shi Falcon W/Z

The Secret Life of W/Z

Exploration

The Peregrine Falcon W/Z is part of a large, ongoing raptor (bird of prey) monitoring effort being conducted on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington by a dedicated non-profit group called Coastal Raptors, based in Hoquiam. Here is how we got to meet him.

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Alder Reflection - Earth Sanctuary

Growing Upward – B

Exploration

When we walk through a forest, we are surrounded by trees growing up toward the sky. . . Most are primarily straight. . . Some are twisted in complex ways, but even these  grow mostly upward from the surface of the soil. What mechanisms generate the upward growth that is so characteristic of most trees, and indeed the great majority of all land plants?

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