island soil

On Soil and Speciation
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Many of you will undoubtedly be familiar with some variation of this evolutionary story: A population of one species becomes geographically isolated from another population of the same species. Over time, these two separate populations gradually evolve in response to environmental pressures in their respective habitats. After enough time has elapsed, gradual genetic changes result in reproductive isolation and eventually the formation of two new species. This is called allopatric speciation and countless examples of this exist in the real world.

At the opposite end of this speciation spectrum is sympatric speciation. Under this scenario, physical isolation does not occur. Instead, through some other form of isolation, perhaps reproductive or phenological, a species gives rise to two new species despite still having contact. Examples of this in nature are far less common but various investigations have shown it is indeed possible. Despite its rarity, examples of sympatric speciation have nonetheless been found and one incredible example has occurred on a small oceanic island off the coast of Australia called Lord Howe Island.

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Lord Howe Island is relatively small, volcanic island that formed approximately 6.4–6.9 million years ago. It is home to four distinct species of palm trees from three different genera, all of which are endemic. Of these four different palms, two species, Howea belmoreana and Howea forsteriana, are quite common. Interestingly enough, H. forsteriana, commonly known as the kentia palm, is one of the most commonly grown houseplants in the entire world. However, their horticultural value is not the most interesting thing about these palms. What is most remarkable is how these two species arose. 

Multiple genetic analyses have reveled that both species originated on Lord Howe Island. This is kind of odd considering how small the island actually is. Both palms can regularly be found growing in the vicinity of one another so the big question here is what exactly drove the evolution of their common ancestor? How does a single species growing on a small, isolated island become two? The answer is quite surprising.

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When researchers took a closer look at the natural histories of these two species, they found that they were in a sense isolated from one another. The isolation is due to major phenological or timing differences in their reproductive efforts. H. forsteriana flowers roughly six weeks before H. belmoreana. Flowering time is certainly enough to drive a wedge between populations but the question that still needed answering was how do such phenological asynchronies occur, especially on an island with a land area less than 12 square kilometers? 

As it turns out, the answer all comes down to soil. Individuals of H. belmoreana are restricted to growing in neutral to acidic soils whereas H. forsteriana seems to prefer to grow in soils rich in calcarenite. These soils have a more basic pH and dominate the low lying areas of the island. Growing in calcarenite soils is stressful as they are poor in nutrients. This physiological stress has caused a shift in the way in which the flowers of H. forsteriana mature. When found growing on richer volcanic soils, the researchers noted that the flowers mature in a way that is more synchronous, not unlike the flowers of H. belmoreana.

Thanks to their attention to detailed life history events and conditions, researchers were able to show that soil preferences caused a phenological shift in the flowering of these two related species. Because they flower at completely different times when growing on their respective soil types, enough reproductive isolation was introduced to disrupt the random mating process of these wind pollinated palms. As soon as such reproductive biases are introduced, speciation can and will occur.

Photo Credits: [1] [2] [3]

Further Reading: [1]


Science Discovers How Complex Life Came To The Galapagos Islands

“Incredibly, all it took was volcanism, wind passing over the ocean, and the natural process of rain to bring a habitable environment to the middle of the ocean. The arrival of not only single-celled life but also complex plants, animals and fungi was not merely serendipitous, but inevitable, given how powerful winds and ocean currents are.”

The Galapagos Islands house some of the world’s most unusual and uniquely adapted plants and animals in the world. This includes giant trees that evolved from the humble dandelion, tortoises the size of boulders, and birds and iguanas that feed beneath the sea. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that plants and animals made it to this remote region of Earth, given wind, ocean currents and flying/swimming animals. But it is surprising that they were able to thrive on these volcanic islands, given that igneous rock has none of the properties you need for rich, fertile soil. Yet the physics of the islands themselves allow them to create their own rain, which leads to the incredible habitats they now exhibit today. All it takes, after that, is the arrival of plants and animals capable of filling those niches.

Come get the story of how science brought habitability to the Galapagos Islands!

i havent gushed about this yet and i need to

Te’ka being Te’fiti is just such fucking perfect writing and not just b/c of plot resolution

because volcanos are always thought of erratic, destructive, evil etc but more importantly they literally build the foundation of islands, volcanic soil lets everything thrive …. so te’fiti without her heart is all the destruction and chaos of lava and volcanos but with her heart she harness it into bring life into this worldd


@My Jamilton Hoes


I woke up this morning and started writing this because I literally couldn’t keep it in my head any longer. It’s my take on what a Jamilton “Say No to This’ would be. Basically an AU where everything is exactly the same, but Alexander is also banging Tjeffs on the side. 

Far warning - this fic will be angsty and Hammy is going to be pretty manipulative.

Also! It’s cannon time and from Jefferson’s pov so there are slight hints if internalized homophobia. Really it’s Jefferson come to terms with the fact that he’s bi.  Nothing drastic or disgusting and really it’s only in this first little part. It’s incredibly mild because its not the main focus of the story and disappears after this opening part. 

However, if you are very sensitive to this sort of thing please don’t feel you have to read, I would hate for this to hurt someone in anyway

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ethicalnecromancer  asked:

If things do escalate in the South China Sea, how do you think things will play out?

Well, I think it will start by China by declaring their artificial islands as sovereign soil and violating the Exclusive Economic Zone of its neighbors. China will rely on cyber attacks to destabilize the people and then claim that they are innocent victims of an expansionist drive led by the United States, and veto any UN resolution especially in regards to the nine-dash line that will attempt to curb them. They will try to wage anything deniable, citing any action traced to Chinese infrastructure as the actions of “patriotic but unaffiliated Chinese individuals.”

Thanks for the question, Necromancer.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

in defense of the ironborn culture

The ironborn culture is an example of a more violent culture in westeros, but there is a very good reason for that. And the reason is not that the ironborn are “dumb” or “more violent by nature” then the other cultures in westeros. It all starts with the fact that the iron islands have poor soil, not good for sowing, which means that the ironborn can’t grow enough food to feed their people, there’s fish of course but people can’t live on fish alone, and as said in the world of ice and fire book they were soon out of wood to build ships as well so they had to go steal this stuff. And the point is that people are proud, so they wouldn’t say “we can’t sow” no they say “we do not sow” a culture is developed where they make themselves believe that they have the right to steal this stuff that there is somehow honor in it, rather than saying “we’re not able to feed our own people” they want to look strong, but they also have to look strong because if they look weak everyone will walk all over them. It’s a form of cultural protection if you will. And culture is formed by people and then people are formed by culture and it keeps developing. There’s also the fact that since they’re on an island they’re very secluded from the rest of westeros and that way, their culture develops uninfluenced by other cultures and this new religion has a chance to rise (a religion that completely supports this culture and makes them feel even more pridefull) I even think that the whole “the drowned god created us as superior beings” is a form of cultural overcompensation for the whole “we can’t even feed our people properly”

So yeah they were raised to be assholes but then there are also some really good things in their culture that I appreciate:

  1. They respect people who would not be respected on the mainland on the account of being ironborn:

ironborn women: they can be a captain of their own ship, and be shown respect despite their gender (see asha), they are more sexually free then they are in other places in westeros (again see asha), they can even technically rule the iron islands. Which is not to say that this would happen (and again, see asha) there is of course still a lot of sexism, but Asha is actually genuinely surprised at the lack of respect she receives on the mainland simply because she’s a woman. the point is that the ironborn value strength above all and when a woman show’s strength they’ll respect her more for it, rather than discourage it like they do on the mainland. They are still sexist in the sense that they do equate weakness with female and strength with male though but you know it’s something.

Fishermen: they are considered kings on their own ship, and they are very much respected for that they do, despite being lowborn.

  1. The kingsmoot: gotta appreciate the only form of democracy we get in these books.

I get the idea that there is a lot less classism on the iron islands than in the rest of Westeros, everyone gets a voice, even when it comes to those captives. Thralls are not slaves, they owe service to their captors but their children are born free for example and they do not get separated, they also don’t get sold or anything like that. It’s still horrible but it’s not as barbaric as it seems on first sight.

Shadow Dork


Word Count: 1.1k

Rating: Extra Fluffy


Nico di Angleo froze, half-way to reaching for a shadow. He glanced to the half-open door of the Hade’s cabin to find Will Solace standing with his fists on his hips and an absolutely furious face. Nico looked back to the shadow. He was close, if he moved quick, Will wouldn’t even—

Don’t even think about it,” Will warned.

Nico winced. He looked back to the shadow, the same look in his eye as when a rabbit looks for escape from a wolf. He glanced back to Will, still in the doorway, then back again at the shadow. Nico leapt for it.

He’d barely taken a step when Will slammed into him, somehow having made it across the cabin in less than a second. The two went tumbling to the floor, grappling with each other as Nico strained to reach any sliver of shadow within arm’s reach. Will’s arms seized up around Nico’s chest under his arms, locking him up. Nico spat like a cat, doing his best to claw at the stupidly strong son of Apollo.

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A Place Only You Can Go (1/1)

Summary: In which Emma Swan loves every part of him, too.

Rated: T

Warnings: Language, mentions of sex

Words: ~ 8k

Notes: For the lovely @seethelovelyintheworld​ (whose art is cropped and used above with her permission; the original can be found here), who sent me the following prompt: “I was thinking about the fact that Emma holds Killian’s hook naturally, because it’s a part of him and almost as if she forgets that it isn’t a “real” hand. I’d love a fic from Killian’s point of view describing how he feels when she first does that. It must have been emotional for him.”  Love and devotion to @literatiruinedme and @high-seas-swan for reading it through.

Also on ff and ao3


The number of times, Killian is certain, that his heart has leapt into his throat.  

He stands along the sloping edge of a nameless, sweet water lagoon in the forest that creeps along the northwestern shores of Neverland.  The multicolored, shimmering flora at his feet taps at his boots, winding restlessly up around his ankles.  Birds overhead caw in broken, hideous languages.  Even the rhythmic swish of the water – the sound he most often hears when he closes his eyes, when he tries to forget who he is – is grating, unnerving.  At least at sea, these muted, mournful cries of a jungle burdened with sorrowful magic and lost children…at least there it cannot touch him.

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Rima Dadenji, postcards I keep : whilst staying on Nisyros island studying its volcanic fertile soil during the “Dodecanese boat journey” in July 2016. Nisyros, is situated in the Dodecanese region in the very salty Aegean Sea (the water was so salty, my brown hair turned into blond, and I couldn’t wait to return to Granada to colour it brown again). The island has a rich soil with enough moisture—ideal for tree plantation. 1.the house reminiscent of Rossellini’s Stromboli with its austere balcony and breathtaking view, 2.fell in love with that lime tree, 3.&4.traditional white houses with indigo windows and green doors (the green hose was used for our daily ablutions, too), 5.various plants flourishing in the patio with the sun so, so hot 6.the lady who hosted us, seconds before she was hugged by her son who surprised her travelling from afar—what followed was too beautiful, and too intimate, to share here. I did learn a lot during the stay, both, however I still prefer my Cretan journey in summer 2015. During this stay, I’ve heard incessant and obsessive anti-Islam, anti-Arabs, anti-refugees views everywhere, even in conversations that had nothing to do with Islam, Arabs, and/or refugees. I kept telling myself “Rim, keep silence, their lies are none of your business, you know why this is happening, focus on your work, focus on your goals, focus on the Truth” but one can’t deny their sheer toxic effect on the body, when you break down and cry in prostration at night and don’t want to get up and face the state of the world. And yet you manage to get up, and finish the prayer with gratitude because the pain was taken care of. This, too, is part of the test, life is but a test. My background is in human rights and international humanitarian international law, and not in agriculture/permaculture, but I’m very passionate about the land, the soil, the water, (and can get carried away with water dosage), from a personal therapeutic perspective and from a social venture one. To this day, the grassroots social ventures by the natives: in besieged Syria, occupied Palestinian territories, Morroco, Oman, and Andalusia are the ones that continuously inspire me to learn more, invest better, July 2016

No, this is not a road in the middle of the sea, this actually takes place in a mountain on madeira island. The soil doesn’t actually absorb water as fast so that is literally a pool of rain ^_^

Poveglia Island - Italy

The soil of the island combined with the charred remains of the bodies dumped there creating a thick layer of sticky ash.  The core of the island is literally human remains that has given the island a loathsome reputation, but appears to be very good for the grapevines that are planted there.