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  #111  
Old 12-17-2014, 03:11 PM
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Dennis, I know the vague location of a large remnant grove of mature trees on private land in the Southern Appalachians, if you want I can try to get more precise directions from my informant (not my dad and unlikely to cough up the location, though), I'll also ask my dad if he knows of other healthy groves in the east. I received one nut from the large grove many years ago but disappointingly failed to germinate it.

I've also heard there's a small stand near Warm Springs, GA, that has provided genetic material for ACF hybridizing efforts. Other groups are apparently working to develop transgenic Castanea dentata in addition to the hybrids, but maybe I shouldn't 'go there' in this wacky thread...
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  #112  
Old 12-17-2014, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnathaniel View Post
Dennis, I know the vague location of a large remnant grove of mature trees on private land in the Southern Appalachians, if you want I can try to get more precise directions from my informant (not my dad and unlikely to cough up the location, though), I'll also ask my dad if he knows of other healthy groves in the east. I received one nut from the large grove many years ago but disappointingly failed to germinate it.

I've also heard there's a small stand near Warm Springs, GA, that has provided genetic material for ACF hybridizing efforts. Other groups are apparently working to develop transgenic Castanea dentata in addition to the hybrids, but maybe I shouldn't 'go there' in this wacky thread...
Indeed! One bad idea per thread is more than enough.
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  #113  
Old 12-17-2014, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnathaniel View Post
Dennis, I know the vague location of a large remnant grove of mature trees on private land in the Southern Appalachians, if you want I can try to get more precise directions from my informant (not my dad and unlikely to cough up the location, though), I'll also ask my dad if he knows of other healthy groves in the east. I received one nut from the large grove many years ago but disappointingly failed to germinate it.

I've also heard there's a small stand near Warm Springs, GA, that has provided genetic material for ACF hybridizing efforts. Other groups are apparently working to develop transgenic in addition to the hybrids, but maybe I shouldn't 'go there' in this wacky thread...
Hi Nat

Believe me when I say that I am thrilled that there are remnant groves here and there . . . and I deliberately DON'T want to know where they are!!! Better to have them hidden and secret for now. Thanks for the info.
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  #114  
Old 12-17-2014, 11:56 PM
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gnathaniel, thanks for sharing those two examples. That Galapagos story was pretty crazy. What was the takeaway?

change is constant
Goats are bad
Pirates are mostly bad but they can be unintentionally good
Don't keep all your tortoises on one island (hedge your bets)
A certain intern has a very interesting resume
Hybrid swarms can be used to recreate the parent species
A Hybrid finch might be less suspectible to brain sucking maggots (hedge your bets)
Future biodiversity depends on how well we play God

Is that right? Am I missing any?

That was kind of grizzly about the goats. I really hope that all that meat didn't go to waste.

Speaking of conservation/eradication...

The Big Kill

I knew about the Moas but I didn't realize that there also use to be a giant eagle that preyed on them... Haast's eagle. I always feel ripped off when I learn about a modern extinction...especially when it's something as cool as a giant eagle.

People in the not-so-distant past stole many valuable treasures from us. But it's hard to judge them too harshly because we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. As it stands, most of us are really glad that we don't have to live in "those" times.

Prior to humans visiting New Zealand, the islands didn't have any mammals other than a few bats. As a result, birds had the opportunity to adaptively radiate into the major empty niches. The Moas functioned as deer and the eagles functioned as wolves.

This is relevant because herclivation is based on the premise that there's an abundance of unfilled arboreal niches. For reasons previously discussed, I've argued that we should seriously consider filling them as quickly as possible. But, if we had somehow applied my logic to prehistoric New Zealand and filled the empty niches with deer and wolves...then Moas and Haast's eagles would never have evolved.

This does give me pause...but, then again, Tasmanian Devils and Tigers are/were pretty cool as well.

If us humans weren't around, and barring any natural disaster, in a few million years or so Florida's epiphytic diversity would probably rival the epiphytic diversity of present day Costa Rica. And Canada would have as many epiphytic orchids as Florida currently does.

Maybe future Florida would have had a giant species of Ghost Orchid that was pollinated by a moth the size of a hawk. How crazy cool would that have been?

The not-so-minor detail is that us humans, well, we are around. Maybe in the long long run most of us will rocket away and help terraform a swath of lifeless planets. We'll stop cramping mother nature's style here on earth and she could get back to churning out Moas and giant eagles. But who knows when or if we'll ever make it off this planet (it depends on how long it takes people to understand that progress depends on difference).

Because wild habitats have been drastically reduced in size and number...it's a given that the future is going to have far less biodiversity than it would have had. So if we want the future to have more, rather than less biodiversity, then I think we need to seriously consider trying to help maximize the speciation potential of any and all habitats. This means filling empty niches with life...which, over time, will change and adapt to the different selective pressures of the new environments. As I've argued before, places like Florida are a good place to start because there's an abundance of unnoccupied arboreal niches.

We can imagine mother nature as a scientist in a laboratory churning out new species. Here we are on this forum because we're big fans of the orchids that she's produced. What's important to understand is that every output, whether it's a Ghost Orchid or a Haarst eagle, depends on inputs. The two main inputs that mother nature needs for her outputs are wild habitats and genetic material. If either input is reduced then her output will also be reduced. Given that we've drastically reduced the amount of wild habitat that she has to work with, mother nature's productivity will drastically suffer...unless we offset the reduction of habitat material by giving her more genetic material to work with.

So the basic function looks something like this...

xSpace * yGenes = zSpecies

x and y are the inputs and z is the output. We've slashed x which means we need to boost y in order to avoid ripping off future generations. They won't get Moas and Haast's eagles but they'll get Tasmanian Tigers/Devils...which are pretty cool consolation prizes.
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  #115  
Old 12-18-2014, 01:05 PM
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I'd like to clarify my last post. Given the inanity of the original topic, a slight detour really can't hurt. The reason why transgenic solutions to the plight of the American Chestnut are a bad idea should be obvious. The problem is a singular one. There is a pathogen which was introduced into the population which the population is generally very susceptible to. Generally however is not totally, as the existence of resistant members of the species proves. Therein lies the obviousness. Resistance to the pathogen already exists within the genome. The species possesses the ability to recover all by itself. Not to say that helping it to do so is undesirable. Indeed every resistant member of the species which is discovered should be as widely propagated asexually as possible, and put into position to propagate sexually with as many other resistant individuals as possible. The only downside to this process is the length of time required. But as in many cases in all aspects of life, the right thing isn't the easiest or most expedient thing. The desire to seek a transgenic solution in this particular instance is motivated by aspects of our human nature, some not so good. Impatience comes to mind, along with the need for closure. I can understand the attraction of being able to claim one "solved" this problem and determining that putting this gene from that plant onto this location on that chromosome of the Chestnut could allow one to do so, in one's own mind. As long as one ignores the forest for the trees, pun intended.
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  #116  
Old 12-18-2014, 02:14 PM
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Subrosa, I think I share your general distaste for transgenic technology, or maybe more precisely I'm afraid of where it might lead without adequate moral controls. For those who are into science fiction and philosophy (anyone? ), I've really enjoyed Frank Herbert's Dune series (just the original 6, thank you very much) and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy on these subjects.

Back on sort-of topic, I don't think it's known whether there is sufficient natural blight resistance within the American chestnut's own genome for selective breeding on that basis, hence the parallel (and to-date far more successful, AFAIK) hybrid and transgenic strategies. While not all 'pure' Castanea dentata are equally vulnerable to blight, the general consensus seems to be that the remnants likely persist more as a result of geographic isolation, lack of related reservoir species like certain Quercus (oaks) nearby, lack of animals that wound bark (allowing in spores), and/or other less-understood environmental factors like mineral content of soils, mycorrhizal communities, etc.

And even if C. dentata has sufficient material remaining within its genome, resistance or susceptibility factors encoded by more than one gene can be hard to breed for or against. Characteristics encoded by multiple genes might express partially when only some of the genes are present, sometimes not at all unless all are present, or not unless all present WITHOUT another suppressive gene. Epigenetic influences of both environment and development further confound this. Not impossible, but far easier to start with a compatible species already known to express or not whichever gene(s) impart blight-resistance or susceptibility.

Interestingly, many of the 'dead' American chestnuts survive at their roots throughout the eastern forests. I've seen young chestnut sprouts all over certain areas when hiking. These aren't fully blight-resistant so the aboveground shoots eventually develop cankers and die, usually before flowering age, but this is a potentially large reservoir of genetic material that can hopefully be included in eventual reestablished breeding populations of American chestnut. I wonder if anyone is making efforts to gather tissue from these other remnants while they persist?
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  #117  
Old 12-18-2014, 02:39 PM
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I find a similar situation with American Elms near my house. I know of several individuals sufficiently resistant to Dutch Elm Blight to have reached reproductive size. Saplings are easy to find. However not many of these are resistant enough to survive long enough to reproduce themselves. But some likely will. The fact that I probably won't be around to see which those are doesn't change my opinion of how to handle the problem. I have no more problem with transgenic species in the proper place than I do with the several hybrid orchid species I keep. I've sold literally thousands of transgenic tropical fish with a perfectly clear conscience. If someone told me they released a bunch, I'd be far more concerned with the potential for disease transmission than any genetic issues. A reasonable position for a Pennsylvanian such as myself I think. Not as much for a Floridian however.
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  #118  
Old 12-20-2014, 12:26 PM
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A Different Way To Protect The Ghost Orchid Male
Default swarm questions

Sidebar: i'm surprised no one is asking these questions:

How different is Dendrophylax lindenii from Dendrophylax sallei, funalis, filiformis, alcoa, barrettiae, varius, and fawcetti? I believe but will make no attempt to prove that differences in floral morphology do not indicate a huge difference in genetic information as traditionally thought. this is just my understanding based on what I have read, and the assertion may be dead wrong, but this is still a valid question.

How different is it from Harrisella, Campylocentrums both with and without leaves, and the south African, central or western African Angraecoid alliance plants still alive today? sure they are separated by millions of years of evolution and so it could be akin to comparing Neanderthals to modern humans, but mammals and plants are not under the same evolutionary process, including dispersal and colonization, so all these comparison arguments are sidesteps.

When looking at Dendrophylax lindenii in situ, a comparison of photos suggests differences in the overall length of the labellum. What does this difference translate to genetically? The same rings true for Dendrophylax sallei, which I suppose is part of the reason why some assert they are the same species.

Will this help?
Does it identify percentage difference in genetic information in a visual and easy to comprehend way? probably, but if you've never seen one of these then it is probably not very helpful at all...

From the American journal of botany article titled "Molecular phylogenetics of Vandeae (Orchidaceae) and the evolution of leaflessness", which I haven't read.
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  #119  
Old 01-12-2018, 05:26 AM
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"Maybe we want to get really crazy and set kangaroos loose everywhere in the world, Thomas suggests at one point." - David Biello, We Arenít Destroying the Earth

We Aren’t Destroying the Earth - The New York Times

Not sure how kangaroos would fare in Africa...
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  #120  
Old 02-28-2018, 07:12 PM
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So i may sound simple but i think in trying to preserve the ghost orchid by hybridizing it with another species that im assuming isnt even a native species, wouldn't end up being the Florida species anymore. Yes there are natural hybrids in nature but if these hybrids end up being more viable in the environment then you better believe that it will out compete its parent species. Not only that but hybrid species if isolated long enough become their own species.

also to quote you epiphyte78

" Yet, a single tree in the tropics can have more species of epiphytic orchids growing on it than Florida has in its entire state. I wonder why that is?

Maybe Florida epiphytic orchids really need their elbow room? They somehow poison any other orchid that germinates on their tree? Each species needs an entire triple decker bus to itself? "

you are correct that there are more species in different parts of the world but that doesnt mean they are not competing for resources (for more room, pollinators or nutrients). they arent happy tree friends sitting under the sun!

A hybrid can also mess up the natural pollinators by changing its scent or even the shape of the flower making things even worse.

to be honest there are no short cuts in conservation. we humans just have to suck it up and put the effort in awareness and care for the environment!!
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