*not clonal

Enviro rant//Hoof disease in Sitka elk is a result of disgusting industrial cow farm practices, fyi

It’s so fucking awesome how our shitty large farming practices that developed with cow farmers in europe and the usa started the bacteria that now causes hoof disease in Sitka elk in the PNW. Washington’s elk herds especially are suffering so much, and wildlife officials are doing nothing to treat them or develop a vaccine, of course. And, in spite of herds being sick and needing help, hunting permits for them are being sold like cheap candy. We barely develop any vaccines for humans, why would we make any for species that actually contribute to this earth and its valuable ecosystems?

Fuck lazy corporate farms and farmers, and fuck -all- government environment regulatory programs. The Forest Service and other government wildlife sectors have small bands of individuals who care and do good, but don’t be fooled overall. The upper management uses the name “Forest Service” as a guise for continued environmental destruction for corporate capitalist interests that is hurting every species. They can get away with this because few people truly understand ecology and the impacts of the Forest Service’s/EPA’s/DOFW’s less than desirable methods and lax standards overall. I’m sure the lack of science education in public schools (and the almost unidirectional focus on computer/mechanical engineering jobs for merchandise production in our society as opposed to earth sciences and medicine)is entirely intentional by the the government – understanding the truth about how the earth works and can thrive if we changed makes everything our government does seem nonsensical and careless. If people don’t understand the science, corrupt leaders can do what they want, and use rhetoric exclusive to the scientific community to confuse the public. These government regulators are still the arms of logging lobbyists and politicians who give no shits about the environment other than draining it dry to benefit them short term.

((I know this personally as well – not only did I study conservation biology, ecology, climate science, and botany while working in a lab with one of the best botanical ecologists in the country for five years – we did several studies for free for the Forest Service regarding invasive species managment. It was our job to show them the best ways to kill invasive species and the best ways to recover native assemblages post destruction. The Forest Service’s methods always involved deadly sprays, some were glyphosate which has been strongly linked to cancer in livestock and humans, while my methods involved hand picked weeding and planting of strong native plants/primary succession species post destruction. Guess which method allows the forest to grow back!!! Mine. The forest grew back with healthy native assemblages and no invasives, as long as all invasive material was removed from the site and humans were not allowed to trample the site. Destruction by humans simply walking around with invasive seeds and spores on their shoes, or dogs, is the number one cause of invasive plants overtaking native ones. My results were the same regardless of the forest area or original plant assemblage, or regardless of the invasive. The Forest Service’s lazy spray method had NOTHING other than weeds growing back on the site. Gross. Also, their standard practice in my state is to leave invasive material on site in huge piles even when they did hand pick some specimen along with spraying various chemicals. This is really dumb, because many of the worst invasives are clonal/can spread by rhizomes and can reproduce from a tiny slice of living material leftover. In the forests my lab and I studied, they had to employ our methods and three Oregon forests are now safely recovering from Brachypodium sylvaticum, Himalayan blackberry, and English ivy, as far as I know. They could have reverted back to old methods with Trump in charge, though.))

They will take and destroy in the name of capitalism until we get to a point where certain ecosystem types, and thus huge arrays of species, will disappear completely without recovering. It’s already happening. If enough remaining forest is destroyed, especially the Amazon, our climate systems will lose their drive (most importantly a huge part of the water cycle will effectively be stopped due to deforestation) and the jet stream will shut down, triggering another ice age. But it’s no big deal, don’t worry about the trees or the animals who live among them~


Árbol Pando

El árbol Pando es una colonia clonal surgida a partir de un único álamo temblón masculino (Populus tremuloides) localizada en el estado norteamericano de Utah. Todas las raíces de cada tallo emergen como una sola. En otras palabras, el árbol es, al mismo tiempo, un bosque.

Se estima que la planta pesa de forma colectiva aproximadamente unas 6000 toneladas (6615 toneladas), lo que la convierte en el organismo viviente más pesado.

Cancer pt 1

A cancer-y overview

  • the second most common cause of death in developed countries 
  • 29% of all mortality (13% worldwide) 
  • 12.7 million cases, 7.6million deaths in 2008 
  • 14.1 million cases 8.2 million deaths in 2012 

Tumours originate in epithelial cells, cells of the blood and lymph system, connective tissue cells and neural cells

Hallmarks of cancer

Genetic Factors

  • Cancer Producing Genes are known as oncogenes - “Any mutated gene that contributes to neoplastic transformation” 
  • These genes are activated in cancer 
  • Often promote cell growth & survival 
  • “Remove the brakes” from normal tissue homeostasis 
  • Often repress cell death and differentiation
  • Result = lots more cells


Prior to mutation these are known as “Proto-oncogenes”. Activation can occur by altering gene expression or protein structure (e.g. constitutive activation). Many common oncogenes promote mitosis/progress through cell cycle OR the evasion of death signals.

Activation is caused by genetic changes, including:

  • Point mutations: can result in production of an abnormally functioning protein product.  
  • Deletions: of a few base pairs to loss of an entire chromosome 
  • Gene amplification: resulting in excessive production of oncogene product 
  • Chromosomal translocations: gene is activated inappropriately by another promoter region; caused by rearrangement of parts between nonhomologous chromosomes

Active oncogenes are found in tumours and are thought to be early events in malignant transformation.

Environmental Factors

Carcinogenesis - the process of initiating and promoting cancer

  • Initiationirreversible genetic alteration of a cancer-related gene (oncogene or tumour suppressing gene (TSG)) 
  • Promotion – clonal expansion of the initiated cell (i.e. stimulation of growth) 
  • Progression – stable alteration of an initiated cell. Gaining ability to invade and metastasise 

Carcinogenic agents (will go into detail in future posts)

  • Chemical Carcinogens 
  • Dietary factors 
  • Biological 
  • Viruses
  • Physical 
  • Exposure to ionising radiation

Following exposure to a carcinogenic agent there can be a long latent period before neoplasia develops. This is because the steps of carcinogenesis must be in the right order (initiation, promotion, progression). eg if exposed to a promoter and then an initiator, all is good until exposed to another promoter after the initiator.


4,800+ Year Old Tree

Prometheus was the oldest known non-clonal organism, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree growing near the tree line on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada, United States. The tree, which was at least 4862 years old and possibly more than 5000, was cut down in 1964 by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel for research purposes. (Source)


Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Plants

Not to be confused with the unrelated North American invasive Ohio Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is also known as Sandthorn, Sallowthorn, or Seaberry.

The bright orange berries of this plant contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and have been studied for medicinal applications that range from fighting tumours to regenerating tissues. They have been called both a ‘superfood’ and a 'delicacy.’

Being thorny, they are excellent for making a wildlife-proof hedge. They will spread laterally, forming clonal patches.

Hippophae species also have a bacterial symbiont in their root nodules (pictured above), which fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. They can handle being near salt water, and extremes of moisture and dryness.

Since the plants are dioecious (male and female parts are on different plants), I am shipping them in lots of 5 and 10 so the odds are higher you will have both sexes.

Sea Buckthorns are regarded as a problem in Southern Alberta, Canada, Australia, and in Northern Ireland (although there is some dispute as to whether or not they are categorically invasive). I will likely not be able to ship these to place with tight biosecurity, like Australia, New Zealand, Hawai’i, or California.

Be cautious about introducing it to your biome, and if you are unsure, don’t plant it.          

Up in my shop → ebay / etsy 

what if EVERY OTHER SPACEFARING RACE were clonal or reproduced parthenogenetically. what if every single other spacefaring race got along and trusted each other and could cohere as empires or governments or principalities because they were all the same, that’s how they all drew together to get off their planets, by having extinguished somewhere back in the mists of pre-asccension time all their homeworlds’ other lineages of competitors, and only met people different from them after having come to sturdy social maturity among the stars

what if we’re the only sexual species to ever make it up there

what if we really truly deeply freak every other race in the galaxy out with our unpredictabilities and differences–what if they slowly and painstakingly decide they get along with ONE human, and then agonize over family lines and surreptitiously-filched DNA samples and insist somewhat pathetically on only doing business with people who’ve got similar immunohistocompatibility complexes as that one. they heist their way into the global bone marrow donor’s database for possible other humans to do business with

Like they DEFINITELY don’t trust family lines, the allellic reassortment of sexual procreation. They’ve got a deep-seated taboo against acknowledging the relatedness of our children to their parents–so different from what they ought to be; misborn; all wrong–but they know they can’t raise sane clones of us on their own. Maybe a whole entire other species decides they’ll only hire humans whose blood type is A+, because being able to share that fluid is not only a workplace safety issue but the powerfully symbolic interchangeability soothes their revulsion towards what would otherwise be a heterogeneous human workforce??

I just think it would be neat for aliens to be SUPER FAR-REACHING-IMPLICATIONS PREJUDICED AGAINST SEXUAL REPRODUCTION but for about every reason possible besides the mechanics of having the sex, because most all of them are like whiptail lizards and OBVIOUSLY thinking beings shouldn’t be prevented from having sex. they just think we’re as disconcerting and threatening on a fundamental level as we think the queen Alien with all her thousands of eggs from Alien is.

actualarishok  asked:

I am curious to know what the weirdest herp you know of is

I had a tie for this. The runner up is the Surinam Toad, who I might write about someday, but the winner is the Caucasian rock lizard, Darevskia (or Lacerta, the nomenclature is confusing) rostombekovi. 

Now these gals are parthenogenetic, which isn’t particularly weird for a herp. There’s several species that do this. Some, like whiptails in the genus Cnemidophorus, are neat in that they actually practice female-female courting behavior and require stimulation to reproduce. Another species, the mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris), is fascinating because sometimes physical males do crop up that produce sperm… that’s completely useless. They can’t impregnate a female. But the Caucasian rock lizard is something else entirely.

Also called Rostombekov’s Lizard, this creature is unique because it’s monoclonal, meaning there’s only one genetic lineage. There never was a male. Literally every single member of this species is genetically identical to her sisters. 

There are several parthenogenetic species in the genus Darevskia, but the rest of them have multiple lineages and so there’s some genetic diversity. That is absolutely not true of this particular lizard. How did this happen? What kind of speciation event led to a single clonal line for an entire species? We do know that the other Caucasian rock lizards that are strictly parthenogenetic have wider ranges than their bisexual ancestors, but this species is shamefully under-studied; we know very little about them, other than that they’re threatened by land development and they’re all genetically identical. That is unheard of in vertebrates. 

So here’s to you, weird identical lizard ladies. Science can’t tell me what the hell happened to you, but you do you. 

Literally. Because you’re all clones of each other.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

*narrows eyes*

So, I just spent 30 minutes learning about rotational kinetic energy and how to compute it into joules and another 30 minutes learning about clonal fragmentation, the asexual reproductive method of echinoderms for a Supercat story.

Why must I be this way?  Why can’t I just half-ass it or something?

Must the science be accurate???

(Spoiler alert: the answer is “Yes.”)


Double-Flowering Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) seeds

Bushcraft, homesteading, and survivalism folks: this pretty pink flower is for you.

Also known as ‘Bouncing Bet,’ this European native has long been naturalised in North America and other parts of the temperate world, as it is an extremely useful patch-forming perennial that thrives in poor, dry, or rocky soils.

The roots have an approximately 20% saponin concentration, so they can be soaked in water and used as a natural surfactant. This means they can be used as soap, detergent, insecticide, and to poison fish (not that many people fish that way these days)!

The flowers are pollinator-attracting, and the plant itself will spread rhizomatically forming monotypic clonal patches. Harvesting is in order to keep the plant from overtaking an area.

Though this plant is widely-grown and naturalised outside of Europe, do your due diligence and check your local invasive species registries before ordering.

Up in my shop

This is the so-called Old Tjikko, a spruce located on the Fulu mountains in the Dalarna (Dalecarlia) province of Sweden. It is commonly regarded as the world’s oldest individual clonal tree. That means that the stems themselves are oftenly no more than ~600 years, but the root systems continue to age far beyond them. In this case, it has aged for approxmiately 9,550 years.


Egyptian Walking Onions / Tree Onions

Allium xproliferum

This package contains 5 bulblets of ‘Moritz,’ 'Catawissa,’ and 'Amish’ perennial tree onions (a.k.a. Egyptian Walking Onions). These plants are unique in that they will multiply below the soil, as well as producing clonal bulblets instead of flowers. When the stalks containing bulblets fall over, they re-plant themselves, giving the appearance that the onion is 'walking’ around the garden.

Egyptian walking Onions (Allium ×proliferum) were first documented in Europe in 1587: they are a hybrid of the Common Onion (Allium cepa) and Japanese Bunching Onion (Allium fistulosum), which has occured independently on a number of occassions, resulting in a number of different cultivars. The moniker ‘Egyptian’ is attached to them, because there is a theory that some were brought to Europe by nomadic Romani people (who were often mistakenly called Egyptians).

Walking Onions have long been cultivated in Japan, where they are called 'kitsune negi’ ('foxy’ or 'mysterious’ onion). A few cultivars were brought to Canada by early French colonists (which is why they are sometimes called “Canada Onions”), and from there, they were distributed around North America, and back to Europe.

Up in my shop ⇒


Tissue culture is a method of clonally propagating a plant of interest. Plant tissues naturally contain meristematic cells which have not yet become organ specific, meaning they can become root, shoot, or leaf cells depending on the environment. By adjusting the ratio of plant hormones in your growth media, namely auxins and cytokinins, you can control what kind of tissue the meristematic cells begin to form. This allows for the generation of multiple new plants from a single cutting, allowing for exponential growth of your plant of interest.

Pictured above are new shoots emerging from cotyledon and leaf cuttings of Stanleya pinnata and Stanleya elata in the family Brassicaceae.

Follow for more plant facts and photos!


Rachel Sussman has photographed some of Earth’s oldest living organisms, describing her project as “a battle to stay in deep time.” Of the thirty ancient living things that she’s photographed, two have since died.

Top: Jomon Sugi, a Japanese cedar that is 2,180-7,000 years old (Photograph courtesy Rachel Sussman)

Bottom: Pando, a clonal colony of Quaking Aspen that is 80,000 years old (Photograph courtesy Rachel Sussman)


Vanda Manuvadee ‘FCC Pink’  (V. coerulea x V. Ponpimal)

I feel I carry the flag for growing orchid species- they have all the color, fragrance and beauty that you can find in any hybrid. They also have a certain unexplainable “wow” factor when grown well. At times, species present many challenges to their culture, something which I enjoy. There is a great feeling when you bloom a plant from a small ecological niche in a far off land. You have recreated the exact conditions needed for this plant to thrive…and its something that you did (mind you this does not apply to our friends who live in tropical regions. If you can kick your orchid out the front door and chances are it will continue to grow…that is not orchid growing).In fact, there are many examples of orchid species which are extinct in the wild and only survive in our collections.

 But at times there are things I feel deserve what little space I can accommodate for hybrids. This is one of those rare instances. Vanda Manuvadee can become a big plant that takes up its fair share of space. But it does flower 2-3 times per year which makes it well worth the real estate. Note the clonal name…something that the hybridizer thought about the flowers-not an actual award. A thought I find agreeable.

Twinflower - Linnaea borealis

The twinflower is a relative of honeysuckle. It grows in ancient forests and subarctic regions. and is a rare example of a self-incompatable clonal organism.

It blooms for only a short time each year, and creeps along the forest floor, making it easy to miss when not in bloom.

Plantarium indigenarum et exoticarum icones ad vivum coloratae. Jargh. 3. 1788.

“One of a kind mirror with a handmade bristlecone pine frame”

From wikipedia: “The bristlecone pines are the oldest single living organisms known (though some plants form clonal colonies which may be many times older). The oldest bristlecone pines are single plants that have been alive for a little more than 5,000 years.”