The Rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla) is a species of desert moss that has the amazing ability to ‘resurrect’ itself after bouts of extreme dehydration lasting months or even years. After just a few hours of exposure to moisture the plants burst to life, uncurling from a tight ball of dry leaves to a green flower-like shape. Videographer Sean Steininger shot this timelapse of several plants as he exposed them to water. (via Cause, Science!)
Artist Rogan Brown (previously) just completed work on his latest paper artwork titled Outbreak, a piece he describes as an exploration “of the microbiological sublime.” Over four months in the making, the work depicts an array of interconnected sculptures—entirely hand cut from paper—based on the smallest structures found within the human body: cells, microbes, pathogens, and neurons. Outbreak represents nearly four months of tedious planning, cutting and assembly. He shares about his process:
I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings, these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed.
You might remember an awesome app mentioned here a few months ago from the creative team over at Tinybop called The Human Body. The educational app takes you deep inside the, erm, bowels of the human body using artwork from illustrator and designer Kelli Anderson. Less than a year later we get to see the latest addition to Tinybop’s Explorer’s Library series, Plants.
The educational title lets you explore two interactive dioramas (forest and desert) illustrated by Marie Caudry where you learn about the lifecycle of plants and how they interact with the rest of the world. Tundra and grassland biomes coming soon.
Leratiomyces sp. / Found in Booyong Reserve, Booyong, NSW
Cyptotrama aspratum or Gold tuft
Mauve splitting waxcap
Marasmius sp. / Marasmius haematocephalus
To think any one of these lifeforms exists in our galaxy, let alone on our planet, simply boggles the mind. Photographer Steve Axford lives and works in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia where he spends his time documenting the living world around him, often traveling to remote locations to seek out rare animals, plants, and even people. But it’s his work tracking down some of the world’s strangest and brilliantly diverse mushrooms and other fungi that has resulted in an audience of online followers who stalk his work on Flickr and SmugMug to see what he’s captured next.
Axford shares via email that most of the mushrooms seen here were photographed around his home and are sub-tropical fungi, but many were also taken in Victoria and Tasmania and are classified as temperate fungi. The temperate fungi are well-known and documented, but the tropical species are much less known and some may have never been photographed before. Mushrooms like the Hairy Mycena and the blue leratiomyces have most likely never been found on the Australian mainland before, and have certainly never been photographed in an artistic way as you’re seeing here.
It was painfully difficult not to include more of Axford’s photography here, so I urge you to explorefurther. All photos courtesy the photographer. (via Awkward Situationist)
You know when you’re horsing around at the beach and accidentally swallow a nasty gulp of salt water? Well I hate to break it to you but that foul taste wasn’t just salt. Photographer David Littschwager captured this amazing shot of a single drop of seawater magnified 25 times to reveal an entire ecosystem of crab larva, diatoms, bacteria, fish eggs, zooplankton, and even worms. Read more about what you probably don’t want to know at Dive Shield. We do admit the little crab larva in the lower right-hand corner is pretty darned cute. (via Lost at E Minor)
Update: Prints of this photograph are available at Art.com.
Update #2: Via JellyWatch, Littschwager offers a bit of clarification about the image.
Marine Microfauna – part of the contents of one dip of a hand net. The magnification was 2x life size, meaning that the actual frame size was a half inch high, so depending on how big the image is on your screen you can calculate the magnification as you see it. To keep as much focus as possible the sample is in as little water as possible just covering the bottom of a 60mm petri dish. That takes about 15 drops of water, but you are only seeing a very small portion of the total sample.
In the realm of genetic anomalies found in living organisms perhaps none is more visually striking than bilateral gynandromorphism, a condition where an animal or insect contains both male and female characteristics, evenly split, right down the middle. While cases have been reported in lobsters, crabs and even in birds, it seems butterflies and moths lucked out with the visual splendor of having both male and female wings as a result of the anomaly. For those interested in the science, here’s a bit from Elise over at IFLScience:
In insects the mechanism is fairly well understood. A fly with XX chromosomes will be a female. However, an embryo that loses a Y chromosome still develops into what looks like an adult male, although it will be sterile. It’s thought that bilateral gynandromorphism occurs when two sperm enter an egg. One of those sperm fuses with the nucleus of the egg and a female insect develops. The other sperm develops without another set of chromosomes within the same egg. Both a male and a female insect develop within the same body.