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Plant Diversity
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The Wollemi Pine [electronic resource]: Tree From the Age of Dinosaurs

This Science Screen Report studies the Wollemi Pine, its 100-million-year history, and the methods used to protect and sustain it. Describing the tree's physical characteristics, its unusual way of propagating, and the medically valuable fungi that grow on its leaves and stems, the program explains how this living organism closely resembles fossils of long-extinct species, and how seed gathering, forest management, and other procedures can help ensure the Wollemi's survival. Biology students will find valuable information on tree ring studies, DNA research, and seedling distribution in the program.
2006; 2000

Plant Biology [electronic resource]: Core Concepts Video Clip Library

Making plentiful use of animation, this comprehensive video clip library of 32 two-to-three-minute segments brings plant biology to life! Visual learners will particularly benefit from the intricate processes and key botanical concepts illustrated in each self-contained video. A versatile teaching tool, Plant Biology is also an excellent student research resource.   Video segments include: * Classification of Plants * Plant Cells * Plant Tissues * Stems * Roots * Leaves and Transpiration * Photosynthesis * Cellular Respiration * Transport of Water/Nutrients * Seeds and Germination * Early Seedling Development * Seedless Nonvascular Plants: The Bryophytes * Seedless Vascular Plants * Nonflowering Seed Plants: The Gymnosperms * Flowering Plants: The Angiosperms * Life Cycles and Life [...]

Plants Video Clip Collection [electronic resource]

How does geography influence plant types? How does a tree become lumber? Is sap like blood? What, exactly, is a succulent? This collection of ten video clips (1 minute 45 seconds to 2 minutes 15 seconds) answers those questions and others through colorful image slides and animated graphics. Video clips include: Classification of Plants; The Anatomy of Flowering Plants; Trees; Reproduction of Flowering Plants; Sap; Plant Growth; Plant Formations; Succulent and Aquatic Plants; Food Plants; The Wood Industry.
2011; 2004

Mendel and the Gene Splicers [electronic resource]

Darwin's theory of natural selection paved the way for the field of genetics. But the concept of a gene didn't exist in Darwin's time, and it was several more decades before science could clearly show how an organism passes characteristics on to its offspring. This program spotlights the life and work of Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk living in what is today the Czech Republic - and the father of modern genetic science. The film follows Mendel's studies of the reproduction of pea plants in his monastery garden, studies which noted the effects of cross-breeding on flower color, pod color, and pod shape; his awareness that, while only one "factor" or genetic characteristic may be visibly inherited, others lie dormant and can reappear in later generations; and the scant recognition [...]

Moyers & Company [electronic resource]: The Problem With Genetically Modified Seeds

On this episode of Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers talks with scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who's become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds - considered "intellectual property" by the big companies that own the patents - are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, sees this as the latest battleground in the war on planet Earth.

The Jungle Pharmacy [electronic resource]: Nature's Remedy

Do the world's rainforests contain a cure for cancer and AIDS? This intriguing program travels to Jakarta, Surabaya, and the jungles of Kalimantan to investigate the preparation and use of natural remedies to combat illnesses such as skin fungus, malaria, and even AIDS. But logging continues unabated, even as ethnobiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Harvard Medical School scramble to quantify the curative properties of indigenous plants. Will the jungle pharmacy disappear before it can be understood? A Deutsche Welle Production.
2005; 1995

A Treasury of Plant Medicines [electronic resource]

While acknowledging the achievements of the pharmaceutical industry, this program offers an alternative perspective on the production of medicines, emphasizing the use of plants and herbs instead of synthetic compounds. Beginning with a historical overview of plant remedies-including evidence of sophisticated herbalism in ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Arab cultures-the video describes how pharmacology evolved out of traditional herbal medicine. It also explores new pharmaceutical research that has come full circle, returning to the use of natural plant extracts. The development of anti-cancer medicine derived from periwinkle is one of many examples.
2006; 2004

Medicinal Plants and a New Alliance [electronic resource]

Many critics of "Big Pharma" see a pattern of exploitation in the industry's dealings with the developing world. This program identifies new ways for drug manufacturers to operate globally, promoting increased cooperation with local producers of traditional, plant-based medicines. Recognizing that worldwide demand for alternative medicine may create new producer countries, the program visits centers of herbology and other non-Western healing methods in China, Vietnam, Bhutan, Senegal, and Kenya. The documented ability of these facilities to fight AIDS and other diseases forms a powerful argument for the coexistence of both corporate and traditional industries.
2006; 2004

Whose Plants Are They, Anyway? [electronic resource]

Surveying the vast biodiversity of the medicinal plant world, this program examines the challenges facing countries rich in such natural resources. The video presents interviews with numerous alternative health experts-including Dr. Jean-Pierre Willem, renowned surgeon, ethnologist, and the last field assistant of Dr. Albert Schweitzer-and documents their knowledge in a wide range of herbal and plant-based treatments. It also studies controversies surrounding the patenting of organisms with medicinal potential, such as Peru's maca root-a clear demonstration that the interests of powerful pharmaceutical companies don't always suit those of indigenous peoples.
2006; 2004

Genes and Cloning [electronic resource]: Science of Selective Breeding

Public controversy surrounding cloning and genetic modification increases with each new development in the field. Illustrating concepts at the heart of the debate, this program shows how biotechnology now drives large-scale agriculture through genetic engineering and sophisticated selective breeding. Outlining ways in which humans have indirectly modified plants and animals since the dawn of agriculture, the program details our ability to construct and insert genes for desirable characteristics into plants and increase livestock productivity with beneficial traits-screening out animals with disease or lower food yields. Engaging animation sequences reinforce important biotech concepts.
2009; 2006

Designer Genes [electronic resource]: Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering

From selective breeding in agriculture to animal cloning and the production of recombinant proteins, science continues to develop ways to modify the genetic code. This program spotlights the basic tools and techniques for manipulating DNA and how these are also used to investigate genetic functions. Viewers will learn about the coding and non-coding sections of DNA; the basics of PCR or the polymerase chain reaction; the use of viral vectors and plasmids in order to transfer DNA; and the various types of cloning, including molecular, cellular, and nuclear. Ethical questions arising from genetic engineering and the manipulation of DNA are also discussed.
2009; 2008

Natural Selection [electronic resource]: Its Place in Today's World

How do humans influence changes in other species? Has Homo sapiens itself stopped evolving? This program explores natural selection as an ongoing phenomenon, showing how evolutionary processes continue to shape the future of all life on Earth. Exploring the competition for resources, territory, and mates that occurs in any ecosystem, the video illustrates how species differentiation takes place-whether the environment is a petri dish, a jungle, or a major city. Also discussed: morphological, physiological, and behavioral variation; the relationship between agriculture, selective breeding, and genetic modification; and the puzzling anthropological discovery known as the Hobbit.
2009; 2008

Dangerous Ideas [electronic resource]: How Darwin's Theories Took Root

What gave Charles Darwin the confidence to finally make his radical ideas on evolution public? Presented by well-known science interpreter Jim Doherty, this program explores Darwin's research during the years leading up to his publication of On the Origin of Species. Doherty explains and reconstructs several experiments that Darwin undertook on the grounds of his English estate. These include the immersion of plant seeds in salt water to support the idea of transoceanic species dispersal; the weed patch experiment, which strengthened Darwin's awareness of predation and death as major evolutionary factors; and the survey of a nearby meadow where the great naturalist discovered startling biodiversity.
2009; 2008

The Storm Breaks [electronic resource]: How Darwin Linked Plant and Animal Studies

Today his name is closely associated with human evolution. Why, then, was Charles Darwin such a tireless observer of plants? This program illustrates Darwin's quest to further support his assertions in On the Origin of Species using the familiar surroundings of his garden. Science interpreter Jim Doherty guides viewers through Darwin's studies of insect-eating plants, including the common sundew and the Venus flytrap. Then he re-creates the means by which Darwin monitored climbing plants, contemplated the sexual nature of plants and flowers, and investigated cross-fertilization. Showing how these botanical studies informed Darwin's view of all living things, the program culminates in an overview of the 1860 Oxford debate on the merits of his ideas.
2009; 2008

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Jonathan Drori, the Beautiful Tricks of Flowers

In this visually dazzling TEDTalk presentation, Jonathan Drori shows the extraordinary ways that flowering plants - over a quarter-million species - have evolved to attract insects to spread pollen. Some flowers grow landing strips to guide the bugs in, or build ingenious, elaborate traps, while others actually deceive by mimicking an insect in heat. Using gorgeous visuals including electron microscope images, Drori explains the importance of pollination, and the symbiotic relationship developed between plants and insects to make sure it occurs.

Guess What's Coming to Dinner [electronic resource]

This video presents a comprehensive indictment of the way we produce, grow, process, and sell the most important requirement of any human society-food. Dr. Ed Dart, a genetic engineer, and Roger Salquist of the California biotechnical firm Calgene, claim that food shortages in the developing world could be readily overcome by introducing genetic engineering. They state that by transferring genes from plants that can survive drought into ordinary crops grown in drought-stricken countries, food production can be greatly increased. However, Professor John Lawton of the Imperial College warns of the dangers inherent in releasing some genetically engineered organisms.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Stefano Mancuso - the Roots of Plant Intelligence

Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities… But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

Vanishing of the Bees [electronic resource]

Honeybees are essential for the production of more than one-third of the food we eat. But in 2006, beekeepers began reporting that astounding numbers of their honeybees had gone missing, literally disappearing, with no dead bees to be found in or around the hives. A task force was formed to study the international phenomenon; scientists were able to identify its distinct symptoms, and named it "colony collapse disorder." This program investigates colony collapse disorder, looking into its possible causes, exploring its potential consequences, and offering some solutions. Journalist Michael Pollan, apiarists, and others discuss the search for CCD's origin, focusing on evidence that points to monoculture farming and a relatively new class of chemicals called systemic pesticides as the [...]

Super Weed Can't Be Killed [electronic resource]

The pick weed, which is native to North America, normally grows among cotton and soy crops, and up until now it has been controlled with herbicide spraying. This ABC News report reveals how the weed has adapted and become immune to the herbicides. Growing up to three inches a day, with a base as thick as a baseball bat, these weeds are choking crops and destroying heavy farm machinery.

The Evolution of Plants [electronic resource]

This Science Screen Report explores ways in which plants have evolved since moving from sea to land approximately 400 million years ago. The program describes how the evolution of vascular systems made terrestrial life possible and how plants with woody stems evolved into trees. With wide-ranging examples, including the Venus flytrap, the Wollemi Pine, and the giant sequoia, the video explains how different adaptations enable plants to reproduce, obtain nutrients, withstand fire, and ward off predators. It also covers basic botanical concepts such as photosynthesis, pollination, and germination.