More flowers and birds on biodiversity day


Red clover, 31 May 2014

After the small water animals on the biodiversity day, we returned to birds and flowers. Like this red clower flower.

White clover, 31 May 2014

White clover grew along that bicycle track as well.

White clover again, 31 May 2014

While a white stork was as its nest.

English plantain flowers, 31 May 2014

English plantain flowers again.

Broadleaf plantain as well.

A male pheasant near a ditch behind them.

Broad-leaved dock, 31 May 2014

Broad-leaved dock flowering.

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Crocus flower video


This is a high-speed video of a crocus flower unfolding.

Pieter van de Koppel from the Netherlands made the video.

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New Zealand kakapos, bats, and flowers


This video from New Zealand is about how kakapo are released into the wild.

From Wildlife Extra:

Flightless parrots & burrowing bats helping to save rare parasitic Hades flower

Kakapo & short tailed bats are key pollinators

October 2012. Ancient dung from a cave in the South Island of New Zealand has revealed a previously unsuspected relationship between two of the country’s most unusual threatened species.

Fossilised kakapo dung (coprolites) contained large amounts of pollen of a rare parasitic plant, Dactylanthus (commonly known as “wood rose” or “Hades flower”), which lives underground and has no roots or leaves itself. Researchers from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide and Landcare Research and the Department of Conservation in New Zealand report the discovery today in the journal Conservation Biology.

Short tailed bat

The musky sweet smell of the dactylanthus flower attracts the only remaining known native pollinator, the endangered New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat, which forages extensively on the forest floor.

Kakapo are extinct from mainland New Zealand and their recent introduction to the island sanctuary of Hauturu/Little Barrier Island, where dactylanthus still survives, has re-united the two species for the first time in potentially a century.

“This is an important example of an apparent tight co-evolutionary relationship between threatened endemic species – the plant and burrowing bat – simply representing ‘the last men standing’,” said ACAD DirectorProfessor Alan Cooper.

“The coprolites suggest that kakapo may have served as pollinators, probably along with other species, which is critical for conservation – and reveal the extent of the ecosystem links which have been broken.”

Lead researcher Dr Jamie Wood, from Landcare Research in New Zealand, said: “Coprolites are one of the only ways to reconstruct important pre-human ecological relationships, such as pollination and seed dispersal, which must be restored to conserve these species over the long term.”

The team is funded by a New Zealand Marsden grant to study the pre-human ecosystem using preserved coprolites from caves and rockshelters across New Zealand.

Dr Janet Wilmhurst from Landcare Research said: “Dactylanthus is now restricted to around 4% of its pre-human range, due to forest clearance, predation by introduced mammals and a lack of pollinators and seed dispersers. Scattered populations only survive in the central North Island.”

Siberian flowers from Ice Age fruit


This campion plant grew from a 32,000-year-old fruit. Photo AP/Institute of Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

From DISCOVER Magazine:

After 32,000 Years, an Ice Age Flower Blooms Again


Permafrost is like nature’s freezer.

by Eric A. Powell

Deep in the frozen tundra of northeastern Siberia, a squirrel buried fruits some 32,000 years ago from a plant that bore white flowers. This winter a team of Russian scientists announced that they had unearthed the fruit and brought tissue from it back to life. The fruits are about 30,000 years older than the Israeli date palm seed that previously held the record as the oldest tissue to give life to healthy plants.

The researchers were studying ancient soil composition in an exposed Siberian riverbank in 1995 when they discovered the first of 70 fossilized Ice Age squirrel burrows, some of which stored up to 800,000 seeds and fruits. Permafrost had preserved tissue from one species—a narrow-leafed campion plant—exceptionally well, so researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences recently decided to culture the cells to see if they would grow. Team leader Svetlana Yashina re-created Siberian conditions in the lab and watched as the refrigerated tissue sprouted buds that developed into 36 flowering plants within weeks.

This summer Yashina’s team plans to revisit the tundra to search for even older burrows and seeds.

The flowering plant of this article is Silene stenophylla.

See also here. And here.