Botanist, taxonomist and plant collector Sandra Knapp has put together an eclectic coffee-table–sized history of plants, flowers and botanical exploration illustrated with glorious color reproductions of paintings from London's Natural History Museum. Plant Discoveries: A Botanist's Voyage Through Plant Exploration (Firefly Books, $60) profiles 20 plant families, including peonies, poppies, roses, irises, tulips, cacti, conifers and daffodils. The coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia) at right was collected at Botany Bay by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Captain Cook's expedition in the 1770s. At left is a fan palm (Livistona humilis) sketched by Ferdinand Bauer in January 1803 at Blue Mud Bay in Australia's Northern Territory.
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Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.
Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.
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