Category: biology

Botany: small bedstraw

Self-tutoring about botany: the tutor identifies bedstraw. A really satisfying identification happens when you notice a plant, see it often, then finally ID it. Small bedstraw, for me, is the latest such plant. I’ve noticed it a couple of years

Biology: botany: plant ID from field guide: shepherd’s purse

Self-tutoring about plant identification: the tutor mentions shepherd’s purse. Reading the field guide lately, I noticed shepherd’s purse in there. It looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure where I might have seen it. In my experience, there are two ways

Botany: field identification of plants: a fresh set of eyes identifies pepper-grass

Self-tutoring about plant identification: the tutor reveals a tough ID, made with a fresh set of eyes. Possibly two years ago, I began noticing a tough plant with a thick stem and disc-like fruits that look like smooth, round leaves.

Botany: American elm

Self tutoring about tree identification: the tutor mentions a find. From afar, I noticed a tree last spring that I couldn’t easily identify. As so often happens, it’s on private property, so I can’t get close to it. The tree

Biology: metabolic cost

Self-tutoring about biology and zoology: the tutor researches American alligators. Alligators in southern Florida typically develop more slowly than those of northern Florida. A suggested reason is metabolic cost. Being cold-blooded, an alligator’s metabolism increases with the surrounding temperature. Therefore,

Biology: what is a relict?

Self-tutoring about biology: the tutor mentions the term relict. relict (noun): a population that was once included by a larger one, but has grown isolated due to changing conditions. Changing climatic conditions can cause relicts, as can changing geography (collapse

Botany: cherry birch identification

Self-tutoring about tree identification: the tutor mentions cherry birch. Waiting last week at an office, I gazed out the window, where a tree drew my attention. The tree had a few familiar features; never had I seen them in the

Tree identification: sweetgum, part II

Self-tutoring about local trees: the tutor mentions the sweetgum for the second time. Back on September 15, 2015, I noted a sweetgum tree in Campbell River. Its star-shaped leaves were how I identified it. Yesterday, I saw one without leaves

Dawn redwood, part III: winter mode

Self-tutoring about local trees: the tutor makes another observation about local dawn redwoods. I wrote a few posts about local dawn redwoods, the most recent here. It will lead interested readers back to earlier ones. Dawn redwood is deciduous here.

Zoology: competitive exclusion principle: American alligator and American crocodile in south Florida.

Self-tutoring about reptiles: the tutor looks into the relationship between the American alligator and crocodile. Only one habitat in the world is shared, naturally, by both alligators and crocodiles: the everglades of south Florida. The American alligator, and the American