Featured in the newest Dialogue Magazine »

Articles » Botany

 

Creation Weekend 2019

Creation Weekend 2019

Introductory

Friday and Saturday – October 25 and 26, 2019

Featuring Dr. Margaret Helder

  • Original research in algae, aquatic fungi and freshwater ecology
  • Taught biology to university and high school levels, and home school science workshops for all grades
  • Science writer for Dialogue and Reformed Perspective and other Christian publications
  • Expert witness at a trial on creation/evolution in the United States Read the rest of this entry »

Conversations on Creation

Conversations on Creation

Introductory

A friend, a while ago, articulated some possible critical arguments concerning advocacy for young earth creation which are based on observations from nature. Here are some reflections on that conversation. Read the rest of this entry »


Fascinating Dates

Fascinating Dates

Introductory

I remember that when I was a child, we tried to grow date palms from the pits or seeds in the fruit. None ever germinated. But that was then and time has passed. When we had fresh dates (with seeds inside) at Christmas a few years ago, I decided to try again. Accordingly, I took a deep margarine tub, punctured several holes in the bottom to drain out water, and filled it with good potting soil. Then each day, as the dates were consumed, I tucked their seeds into the soil. Maybe twenty or more seeds went into the pot. And nothing happened. But I kept watering. Then after eight weeks or more, a pure white shoot about 2 mm in diameter finally appeared. It looked like a growing shoot from a corn seed, only thicker. Next day another shoot appeared. It took several days for these to turn green. Eventually we had five young seedings, each of which developed a bright green leaf. More leaves followed, one at a time. These plants are monocots, like corn and grasses and bamboo. That is why they send up only a single leaf at first. Read the rest of this entry »


 

Everyone likes to communicate, to share what we have learned. And there is so much to learn!! While we all enjoy sharing our latest news with friends, sometimes this news involves events or objects observed in nature. Did you hear about the bear that so and so saw in their back yard?! Naturally you want to be the first to report this interesting piece of information. But as we get a little older, sometimes it is fun to make a study of an issue and be the first to report our findings to our friends.  Nature is so full of interesting features and processes and events. Have you ever asked yourself, what is happening here and why is it happening? Read the rest of this entry »


Dicot Dreamers vs. Monocot Meanies

Dicot Dreamers vs. Monocot Meanies

Children

Two “teams” of plants compete for popularity

One evening after dinner at our Opa and Grandmum’s house, Grandmum told us that we were going to do an experiment called Monocot “Meanies” vs. Dicot “Dreamers”.  We each took two styrofoam bowls and put holes in the bottom, and then put in some soil.  In one bowl, we planted two soaked bean seeds and two dry bean seeds.  In the other bowl, we planted two soaked corn seeds and two dry corn seeds.  Grandmum said, “Some plants are Monocot Meanies and others are Dicot Dreamers.”  She didn’t tell us which was which, but that we would know when they came up. Read the rest of this entry »


Celebrating Rhythm!

Celebrating Rhythm!

IntermediateIntroductory

The 2017 award of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine to three Americans, Michael Rosbash, Jeffrey Hall and Michael Young, has served to stimulate our interest in a phenomenon that is actually well-known. We all know why people get hungry about the same time of day, or wake up about the same time, or suffer from jet-lag. It is because of biological clocks. So what was so special about the work of these three scientists? The story actually goes back to 1729! Read the rest of this entry »


Appreciating the Creation

Appreciating the Creation

Introductory

Many people claim they are not interested in science, but this is not really true. Perhaps they never really studied nature, but there are few people who do not notice how interesting and beautiful the surrounding countryside is. Did you realize for example that magpies are common in the western half of North America, but not in central Canada? Some people say that these distinctive birds are so common in Edmonton that this is the “magpie capital of Western Canada” (a dubious distinction). Read the rest of this entry »


How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Children

Even in Alberta, there are many crops which we could choose to grow in our gardens. Do you like perennial flowers? Lots of people grow a wide variety of such plants, but  maintaining them involves a constant battle with weeds. Others choose edible plants to grow. These may also be artistic, as in some cabbages or large areas planted with lettuce, or string beans. Humming birds love the bright red string bean flowers, so the garden can serve several uses. Other people choose plants that taste good but are not particularly attractive to look at (potatoes for example). Read the rest of this entry »


During the 1960s and 1970s, improved strains of wheat and rice resulted in a doubling of crop yields. Despite predictions of disaster from some environmentalists, the world continued to feed quickly growing human populations. This green revolution, kick-started by the research of American plant scientist Norman Borlaug and Indian rice geneticist M. S. Swaminathan, provided much higher yielding crops. However for optimum growth, these crops require the widespread application of nitrogen fertilizers and other chemicals. As a byproduct of this practice, a significant amount of fertilizer ends up in natural waterways. As a result, scientists now consider the application of such chemicals as “so last century!” (Nature October 30, 2014 p. S52). The hunt is now on for crops that do not require chemical inputs and yet produce high yields. Read the rest of this entry »


Among the wonders of the natural world are plants that eat animals, and the best known example is the Venus flytrap Dionaea muscipula. In Charles Darwin’s book on insectivorous plants, he described the plant and its ingenious design in great detail, but did not offer even a clue about its possible evolution (Darwin, 1896, pp. 286-320). He even called the plant “one of the most wonderful plants in the world” (p. 286).

This carnivorous plant is found growing in peaty sandy soil mainly in one small place, the extreme far east coast of North Carolina (Schnell, 2003, p. 85). It catches its prey, mostly ants, beetles, spiders and other crawling arachnids, with a complex, well designed, mitt-shaped trapping mechanism located at the terminal portion of the plant’s leaf (Ellison, 2006; Ellison and Gotelli, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »


Diatoms: Jewels of the Marine World

Diatoms: Jewels of the Marine World

IntermediateIntroductory

Diatoms are a major group of plants which float in open water, and they are one of the most successful types of microscopic algae known. The estimated over 100,000 known species are found in the oceans, in freshwater, in soils and even on damp surfaces. Most diatoms are unicellular, although some can form colonies in the shape of long filaments or ribbons. As eukaryotes or cells with a nucleus, they have highly complex cells, comparable to other eukaryotes such as mammals and even humans (Philippe, et al., 1994, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 7: 247). Read the rest of this entry »


Problem Solving Takes Brains!

Problem Solving Takes Brains!

ChildrenIntroductory

Have you ever noticed that everybody seems to place a high value on problem solving? I can well imagine one’s mother saying “This room is way too messy! How are you going to manage your clothes, toys, electronic gadgets (or whatever) so that this does not happen again?” She clearly expects you to come up with a plan and to follow it! Possibly you may come up with some way to organize your treasures in order to keep mum happy. Read the rest of this entry »


Way Too Rich for Evolution

Way Too Rich for Evolution

IntermediateIntroductory

Unless a lake is considered polluted, we don’t reflect much on all the living organisms that the waters contain. As a matter of fact however, most lakes have many different kinds of single celled plants (algae) floating happily in the top several metres of the water column. While in certain situations, people say that variety is the spice of life, many scientists worry about why there is such diversity/variety in lakes and the sea. Read the rest of this entry »


All the Beauty!

All the Beauty!

ChildrenIntroductory

Every season of the year provides its share of interest for young adventurers, or the young at heart. In winter, for example, have you considered how beautiful the silhouettes of the trees are against the snowy background? The deciduous (without leaves) trees look particularly artistic because we can see the branching pattern. Every tree has a characteristic canopy shape as a result of the way that the branches grow. This shape enables the tree in summer to display its leaves to best advantage so that the maximum possible sunshine is intercepted and the minimum number of leaves remains in the shade. Read the rest of this entry »


Imagine That

Imagine That

Introductory

Have you ever discovered that something you thought quite ordinary (or even ugly), was actually a priceless antique? I remember harbouring such sentiments when I was a teenager. Since then, of course, I have learned better how to identify valuable items. Read the rest of this entry »