Friday, April 26, 2013

Touching Discovery

Talk a walk through a field and run your fingers across the leaves, or bend over and lightly touch the seedlings emerging from the ground, and you may make the difference between whether those plants thrive or perish.

That's the implication of the findings by three ecologists in Pennsylvania who discovered that touching plants in the field affected their ability to repel insects.

James Cahill of the University of Alberta, and Jeff Castelli and Brenda Casper of the University of Pennsylvania were conducting field studies of plants in an abandoned hayfield and along a forest floor when they noticed that plants they had marked for study were experiencing extremely high rates of attack by insects. Plants that they had not disturbed were faring much better.

Could it be that they, the detached and impartial scientific observers, were making a difference in the plants' environment that affected their survival?

Continued at... Touching Discovery

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Plants and Seeds
Out There
Artwork: Butter and Eggs Toadflax