One year of The Quiet Branches

The Quiet Branches turns 1 year old in a few days. According to wordpress I had 9400 views this year. And readers from a total of 109 countries. Of course, I know most of my readers are from the US, but still cool to have breadth of countries.

I started off this blog talking about why I named this blog The Quiet Branches. My aim was to help people become more aware of plants as well as the world of plant science.

Sun shining through a redwood forest. Via Shutterstock.
Sun shining through a redwood forest. Via Shutterstock.

It’s as true now as it was a year ago: plants are essential to our existence. They are fascinating in their own right too, alien in a way. They are more than just a medium we all move through.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to tour a state park in Florida, Wakulla Springs. The big attraction is the manatees that kind of hang out, eating aquatic plants and not doing much else with their days as far as I know. There were a lot of birds including a large collection of vultures. There was even an alligator hanging out in the water.  

Manatee and calf. Photo by Ian Street
Manatee and calf. Photo by Ian Street
The plants surrounding Wakulla Springs. photo by Ian Street
The plants surrounding Wakulla Springs. photo by Ian Street

The guide pointed out a lot of the birds, slowed down for the manatees but didn’t once mention the plants that were all around and presumably have some adaptations to living on the shore of the springs. At least some of the trees had woody roots that poked up above the surface of the water.

This is just one example of plant blindness in the world. It’s not that I expect everyone to suddenly notice plants. But they are critical to understanding our past, present, and future.

Maize field. Via Shutterstock.
Maize field. Via Shutterstock.

GMOs got a lot of attention this year and those are plants (and apparently it’s mostly GM plants) that people care about most even though they are hard to define. While oversight and regulation of our food supply  (especially one we’re disconnected from– few of us actually see our food grown on the farm. Arguably, it would be nice if more of us were able to grow our own food or at least directly experienced caring for a plant day-to-day.  The discussion about our is a lot more than just labeling which is not solely a GM issue so far.

And of course, plants are a lot more than just however you define genetic modification. There are 400,000 plant species on Earth known. Humans only consume a small number of them. Research showed that there are almost 3 trillion trees out there which is a lot, but that doesn’t mean they’re not under threat from anthropogenic causes as are many other plants. And is of concern in a world where plants aren’t just our food, they are material, air, and culture too.

Here are links to some of my favorite posts from The Quiet Branches this year:

  1. The discovery of Cytokinin (part 1 and part 2)
  2. The Auxin Receptor(s)
  3. A Small Plant Genome and Junk DNA
  4. Guardians of Gas Exchange
  5. Roots of Modern Plant Biology
  6. Moss- Tiny Plants, Huge Potential (guest post)

Feel free to check out the other posts I wrote this year as well as my partial list of other plant science blogs too (I’ll update it with more soon- I learned about a lot of plant science blogs this year!

I invite you to suggest topics, people to talk to,  pitch a post to me (I’ll work with you to edit/gather images, etc.), and otherwise converse with me. I’ll do my best to get back to you. This blog started with my own curiosity. And I hope to continue to do that as well as amplify the world of plant biology for both plant scientists and non-plant scientists alike. See you all in 2016. 

I’m at ihstreet at gmail and @IHStreet on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “One year of The Quiet Branches

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