January 2013 archive

Organism of the week #4 – Toadstools

Amanita muscaria [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Imperial’s campus in Berkshire, Silwood Park, is a fabulous place to go fungus spotting. The fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) is very common there as there are a lot of birch trees around, and this fungus forms a symbiosis with the roots of those trees: Fly agarics are rather poisonous (for some value of ‘rather’), by …

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Organism of the week #3 – Switch off all electrical items on the approach

Halobacterium salinarum [CC-By-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

There are many good reasons to visit San Francisco, some of them thoroughly unsafe for work, but one I didn’t consider was to see this amazing sight on the approach to the airport: The pink colour in the water is caused by a bloom of single-celled organisms I must refrain from calling bacteria, since they are not. …

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More butterworts

Pinguicula esseriana flowers [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

After the trip to Königssee, I was inspired to retail therapy and bought myself as many butterworts as Hampshire Carnivorous Plants could supply: They did me proud over this summer, with two of them flowering despite the root disturbance (on which butterworts are not keen), the chunky cultivar ‘Tina’: and the daintier species P. esseriana: In …

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I gone done made me a satire

Tortured artists have tuberculosis, not iPhone apps.

Farewell Marlowe

Marlowe's longboat [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Marlowe, the cellar spider who has been living behind my beside cabinet for the last 18 months, disappeared a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t too worried as they’d done that before and then turned up again a few weeks later, fatter and of greater span. On Monday, however, Alex found Marlowe’s mortal remains beneath …

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Organism of the week #2 – Now wash your hands

Phycomyces blakesleeanus [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

I have delusions of being a competent recogniser of things that turn up in UK gardens, but when this started growing in what had previously been a pot of basil in the garden, I was clueless: It looked a little like moss from a distance, but the bibbly bobblies were most certainly not moss-like close-up, …

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Organism of the week #1 – Chimaera

+Laburnocytisus adamii [CC-BY-2.0 Alex Lomas]

I’ve been neglecting the blog of late, for reasons too dreary to explain. So I am taking the astonishingly original step of racking up a load of pretty pictures of organisms to release on a semi-regular basis. I am creativity incarnate. Today, +Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’. Technically, this is a bit of a cheat for an organism of …

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