Signs of mistletoe

Below are three photographs of mistletoe seeds I took at La Selva Research Station in Costa Rica. Seeds were most likely deposited by birds perching on the signs, but I’m not sure whether the birds scraped off the seeds (which can be extremely sticky, due to presence of viscin threads) or simply pooped them. If the latter was the case, the bulk of the poop is long gone, but it rains enough in the tropics for that to happen. There are threads visible on the top photograph, so I’m going to guess that the seeds were attached to the birds somehow, and the birds scraped them off onto the sign.

By the way, mistletoe are parasitic plants … which is why it’s amusing (to me) that they were on a sign. Although they are clearly green and can photosynthesize, they’ll eventually need the water (and other xylem contents) from a host. Under those adhesive pads there is (or will soon be) a haustorium that will attempt  to burrow into the substrate in hopes of finding host xylem. If I lived at the station I’d naturally record how long these beasties survived, but staff probably clean off the seedlings every few weeks just so it doesn’t look to nasty. Some species can apparently last a year as self-sufficient seedlings.

Colin Purrington Photography: Parasitic plants &emdash; Mistletoe germinating on sign

Colin Purrington Photography: Parasitic plants &emdash; Mistletoe seeds germinating on pole and sign

Colin Purrington Photography: La Selva, Costa Rica &emdash; mistletoe-seedling-close-up

Posted in Biology, Education, Graphic design, Photography, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photographs from La Selva, Costa Rica

Some photographs I took during a visit to La Selva Research Station in 2008. Old, but recently discovered they hadn’t transferred to my site when I bailed on Flickr.

I was stuck inside a small room for most of stay (I was consulting for Organization for Tropical Studies), unfortunately, so not as many pics as I’d like. The full album (approximately 50 images) is below. I wish OTS would hire me again.

This little spider is a golden orb weaver (Nephila clavipes), I think:

Colin Purrington Photography: La Selva, Costa Rica &emdash; Golden orb weaver (Nephila clavipes)

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) still attached to the tree:

Colin Purrington Photography: La Selva, Costa Rica &emdash; Jackfruit  (Artocarpus heterophyllus) in tree

Bromeliad on branch:

Colin Purrington Photography: La Selva, Costa Rica &emdash; Bromeliad on tree branch

My high-security hotel in San José,

Colin Purrington Photography: La Selva, Costa Rica &emdash; Hotel Villa Tournon in San José, Costa Rica

Just mouse-over the thumbnails below to see title, or click to see larger.

Posted in Biology, Education, Photography, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Baylands Nature Preserve

Here are some photographs from my December visit to the Baylands Nature Preserve (2500 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303). I missed the king tide, unfortunately, but will hopefully see that in the future, ideally before they start rearranging the park topography and water flow (e.g., constructing tall refuge hills where the adorable saltmarsh harvest mouse can escape to during king tides). Without a doubt the nicest landfill I’ve ever visited.

Colin Purrington Photography: Baylands Nature Preserve &emdash; pools-and-towers-baylands

Colin Purrington Photography: Baylands Nature Preserve &emdash; baylands-nature-preserve-creek

Colin Purrington Photography: Baylands Nature Preserve &emdash; transmission-towers-baylands

Colin Purrington Photography: Baylands Nature Preserve &emdash; canada-geese-baylands

Colin Purrington Photography: Baylands Nature Preserve &emdash; marsh-water-baylands

To see the whole album, click on any of the images below and use the arrow key to advance. Clicking on the titles will take you to my photo site (where you can read captions and such).

Posted in Biology, Education, Photography, Science | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Georgia evolution disclaimer turns 10

I got caught up in the holidays and completely forgot to mark the 10-year anniversary of Cobb County’s “evolution disclaimer” court case (which started in 2004). In case you missed it, the Atlanta area school board decided to glue this sticker onto the front inside cover of students’ biology textbooks:

Colin Purrington Photography: Evolution graphics &emdash; cobb-county-evolution-disclaimerThis sticker was designed, of course, to make it seem like evolution is just an interesting idea, one that might be useful, but only time would tell. The sticker delighted the creationists in town who had pushed for the language.

I played a very, very small part in the trial: I sent a page of snarky disclaimers (below) to the plaintiff’s lawyer to amuse her, and she decided to print some up as posters to show in the courtroom. I heard the judge liked them a lot. If you are having a Darwin Day party on February 12, consider printing a bunch as party favors. Print some as bookmarks for kids while you’re at it.

Textbook disclaimer stickers

If you liked the above, you might also like the version I did for the New York Times. Felix Sockwell did the figurines, which really added a lot.

Colin Purrington Photography: Evolution graphics &emdash; The descent of dissent (New York Times op-ed)

 

Posted in Biology, Education, Graphic design, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment