Todd's blog

Pulsu(m) Plantae

Imagen PulsumPlantae

My acquaintance Leslie Garcia, from Tijuana Mexico, has been working on a plant sonification project analogous to those here at Dragonline Studios.

Develop self-sustaining sound devices, designed as hybrid systems, from the integration of a living organism (plant) and an interface address (biosensors) to create a network-based motif in coded language sound frequencies. Project in process

Her work was recently exhibited and a large amount of documentation is up on the site for the Pulsu(m) Plantae project, original in Español, English translation by Google Translate.

Electricity from trees

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Brisbane, Australia have published findings from a study showing ion concentrations in heavily wooded areas to be twice that of grassy areas. The increased ion counts are believed to be caused by the trees transporting watersoluble radon from ground water into the atmosphere as they transpire. The research paper is available from Environmental Science & Technology.

The role of ions in the production of atmospheric particles has gained wide interest due to their profound impact on climate. Away from anthropogenic sources, molecules are ionized by alpha radiation from radon exhaled from the ground and cosmic gamma radiation from space. These molecular ions quickly form into ‘cluster ions’, typically smaller than about 1.5 nm. Using our measurements and the published literature, we present evidence to show that cluster ion concentrations in forest areas are consistently higher than outside. Since alpha radiation cannot penetrate more than a few centimetres of soil, radon present deep in the ground cannot directly contribute to the measured cluster ion concentrations. We propose an additional mechanism whereby radon, which is water soluble, is brought up by trees and plants through the uptake of groundwater and released into the atmosphere by transpiration. We estimate that, in a forest comprising eucalyptus trees spaced 4m apart, approximately 28% of the radon in the air may be released by transpiration. Considering that 24% of the earth’s land area is still covered in forests; these findings have potentially important implications for atmospheric aerosol formation and climate.

( Via PhysOrg )


Researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution have joined forces to develop a series of electronic field guides. Their first effort, Leafsnap, uses visual recognition algorithms to identify trees via photos of their leaves. Their species list is currently limited to trees found in the New York City and Washington D.C. areas, but will soon grow to cover the continental United States. Leafsnap is available as a free iPhone app at the iTunes App Store. ( Via Kottke and Garden Design )

Dubspot Hi-Fidelity Sessions - Boston - April 22

Duncan dubspotPhoto: Todd Thille

Duncan will join Richard Devine and Steve Nalepa to discuss "Sounds of Unseen Worlds" at Dubspot's Hi-Fidelity Sessions in Boston this Friday, April 22, 2011. Their presentation begins at 5PM at Bristol Studios and is free with RSVP. The event is part of the larger Together Festival taking place all week in Boston.

Wales to DNA barcode it's native flowering plant species

Wales aims to be one of the first countries to catalog DNA barcodes of all of it's native flowering plants, 1143 species in total. The reference barcodes being assembled would allow for identification of any plant species from the tiniest fragment if the plant.

This effort is in sync with global initiatives to catalog DNA barcodes for all living things. The growing database is meant to be a freely accessible online global resource.

Further information about the Welsh initiative is at The National Botanic Garden of Wales. More information on DNA barcoding can be found at International Barcode of Life, Barcode of Life, and Barcode of Life Data Systems.

Via ( UK Plant Science )