Tallowwood forest

30 September 2017 The dark green teeth of the prickly rasp ferns wave upwards in the warm northerly breeze, up from the dry crunchy litter of curled eucalypt leaves, and the twigs that spring and snap when you walk. A … Continued

A fruitful partnership between trees and birds

posted in: Tales of science | 2

Many rainforest trees begin their life in the beak of a wompoo fruit dove. And wompoos find it hard to survive without rainforest. This partnership is among the latest in a long series of trysts between rainforest trees and fruit-eating … Continued

Why are Australian swans black?

Australian swans are black, while most swans are white. Why should this be? When I was a child, growing up in Australia, the only swans I saw were black. At Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, or in the Botanic Gardens of … Continued

The strangler fig: everyone’s favorite killer

posted in: Tales of science, Writing | 2

A rainforest tree is subject to many mortal perils: shade, cyclones, fires, chainsaws. One of the most grotesque and extended deaths is carried in a tiny seed, rained down from above by complicit birds and bats. Many such seeds drop … Continued