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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: Mushroom Cloud Helps Moss Spores Reach New Heights
22 July 2010 2:36 pm
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Credit: Video courtesy of Clara Hard, Joan Edwards, and Dwight Whitaker
When breeding season comes around, Sphagnum moss just can't contain itself. The ground-hugging plants, also known as peat moss, reproduce by launching their spores up to 16 centimeters in the air, where the wind carries them away. How do the spores get so high? They form a mushroom cloud, according to a study to be published tomorrow in Science. When the capsule that contains the spores desiccates, it builds up huge amounts of pressure and eventually pops its top. Because of the shape of the capsule, the spores are ejected as a mushroom cloud, also known as a vortex ring. High speed video reveals that this cloud draws air up through its stem as it rises, pushing the spores 20 times higher than they would rise if they were ejected in a bullet-like trajectory. Jellyfish and squids employ similar mechanisms to move through water, but this is the first time it's been seen in plants.
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