Archive for the ‘Word of the week’ Category

Asphodelus albus

White asphodel. Probably subsp. occidentalis (given its location, Western France), but this needs confirmation.

Pyrophytic (if this would be a word of the week post): because of its bulb, the species is tolerant to fire.


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Enjoy this video worth a word of the week section. Go to vimeo to comment there and compliment the author too!

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If you don’t get the attempt at humour, nevermind. There’s an ever lasting debate in French as to whether the proper plural of foreign words integrating the language should be frenchisized or we should keep their original plural. Some people thus never miss an opportunity to yell latinised plurals, especially in biological sciences where many words are the legacy of Latin as the previous universal science language (e.g.  locus/loci, homonculus/homonculi and so forth). I guess there isn’t such a debate in the English speaking world, just because. (locuses, homunculuses). (you see what I mean).

We are going to speak of great choruses of jargonry around -chory. The word of the week that came out today is unfortunately at odds with its use in the English world (I thought of agochory, but it is merely in use, as anthropochory is prefered). -chory is all about seeds dispersal, and that’s what I’m doing right now, getting dispersed, ’cause I can’t seem being able to write focusely. Unfair me. (and the mosquitoes flying around tonight!). (more…)

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I recently explored -spheres. Today, I serendipitiously stepped into some more spheric words, and plain plane additions.

-plane stands for flat surface, that’s its a latine root. (The French words is a figurative for daydreaming, or since the sixties, for being high). So, since spheres are a good figurative for a gross volume, it may deceitfully convey the message biological interactions can be rounded at places. Leaves are mostly flat (save the juicy succulents), so that any -plane would best reflect the actual ecological space of plant/microbes interactions… (more…)

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Sphere is more than a mathematical concept. In biology, or more precisely ecological microbiology, it is devoted to those special places of biological interactions, usually between plants and microbes. I can’t tell if other sciences use -sphere this way, but it seems like specific sociology or psychology subfields do, and we speak of blogosphere too. Interactions is an important part of our sphere concept.

The very first time I stepped into a biological use of a sphere was with rhizospere, as a student. That’s basically a place near roots where plants interact with bacteria and fungi. Not so surprisingly, if plants can change the nature of that place, they can change interaction and thus the nature of this community. And it does, they simply have to secrete secret chemicals, usually sugar to start with, and the whole microbian community will change. Not that tricky to evolve, and of course, natural selection is opting for secreting the chemicals that promote benecial interactions (or less harmfull interactions, because you may also try as a plant to get rid of pathogens and herbivores). (more…)

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Dead like them… Thanatosis. Or pseudocide. Despite the dark side, these words are fascinating.

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Just found the following title strikingly interesting (and yep, somewhat dealing with aspects of a promised post):

Oceanicity and the ecological disadvantages of warm winters

RMM Crawford – Botanical Journal of Scotland, 1997

I like oceanicity much. That would definitely qualify for the word of the week category. But I haven’t access to the paper. Does anybody do and would be willing to send me a reprint? Thanks! :)



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