Reviews: The physiology of plant responses to drought, and forests and drought ($) (Science)

The increasing global population causes an increasing need for food, but the changing climate means increasing drought occurrences. The April 17 2020 special issue of Science focusses on drought and its effects on food and the environment. The issue includes a fine review by Gupta et al. that provides an overview of how plants are able to sense water limitation and respond to try to avoid dehydration. The authors give an overview of the magnitude of the problem, and how plants respond to mild water stress, for example through changes in root architecture and stomatal responses. They then introduce the signals that effect and coordinate these responses, and discuss possible targets for enhancing them so that crop plants can be developed that are able to produce high yields in spite of water deficit. A second review by Brodribb et al. looks at how trees cope with drought, and the confounding effect elevated temperatures. They discuss water relations in trees, potential for adaptation and acclimation, and modeling approaches to predict drought effects on forests. These fine reviews, written for the broad readership of Science, are excellent choices to share with students. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Science 10.1126/science.aaz7614  and 10.1126/science.aat7631.