Hornworts, or the nature of discovery

What is discovery made of? Which are the ingredients? And how are the different ingredients combined into “finding something new”? I’ll try to give some perspectives on this, through my personal experience with a botanical discovery (which lead to my first scientific publication). Losing the way is the way I guess most botanists/naturalists have a…

Art and science: navigating the maze in the 19th century

  Let’s begin with a little quiz… Which historical character said…   Classification is Ariadna’s thread in the Dedalus of nature.   So concise and poetic. Any guesses?   The answer is Aurore Dupin, better known by her pen name: George Sand¹‌. Aurore Dupin (1804 – 1876) was a French writer, socialist and feminist. Her…

Seaweed for sceptics: ammonoids and brown algae

Welcome to the next issue of the Seaweed for Sceptics series. The first post of the series explored the rough origin of the red algae, showing the genetic impariment that these seaweed suffer as a result of their extreme origins. In this second post we shall focus on one of these weird connections that crop…

Say it with leaves: a gymnospermic romance

Happy Valentine Day everyone! We would like to give our biological slant on this romantic date. The Internet is ripe with dating techniques and romantic proposals, ranging from original to pure nonsense. Here we want to show you yet another way to communicate your love for someone: say it with leaves! Johann Wolfgang von Goethe…

Greek mythology invades biodiversity!

Giving a name to an organism is one of the most thrilling moments for any biologist. Not only it’s a perfect opportunity to show off their inventive and imaginative skills, but it’s also a way to reach immortality (to put it in a poetic way). The organism will carry this name at least until someone…

Seaweed for sceptics (I): a rough origin for the red algae

  Seaweeds are one of those things we might take for granted. Even many biologists would call this fleshy marine algae “dull” or “uninteresting” (we guess they’d be called seaweed sceptics?). One of the points of this blog is to show that life’s magnificence is to be found everywhere, if you are open to it….