Recent Posts

Opinion: A canopy conundrum: wind-induced movement, crop productivity and photosynthetic limitations? (J Exp Bot) ($)

High wind speeds may result in substantial damage to crop canopies, resulting in a loss of productivity.  Lower wind speeds affect crop canopies in different ways – while physical damage does not occur, the movement of plant tissues impacts photosynthetic capacity by altering the light environment,…

FACE facts hold for multiple generations; Evidence from natural CO2 springs (Global Change Biol)

Assessing the effect of rising CO2 concentrations on plant growth and physiology traits is crucial in order to determine how ecosystems and crop production systems will perform in future climates.  Such assessments have been made with free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiments, which have provided a…

Focused Review: A role for ecophysiology in the ’omics’ era (Plant J.)

Ecophysiology is the study of plant functioning as modulated by the environment (or, as described by one author, “outdoors physiology“). Flexas and Gago ask whether research (and training) in  ecophysiology has been left behind somewhat by successes in -omics approaches, and from a Web of Science…

Functional-structural plant modeling to understand species mixtures (J Exp Bot)

Mixing different plant species in a single field increases productivity by exploiting species complementarities for capturing resources (i.e. water, nutrients, sunlight). Both competition avoidance responses and individual organ accommodations to the changing environment  contribute to this complementarity.…

Is Genetic Evolution Predictable?

Yang et al. investigate the evolution of flowering time in the young species Capsella rubella. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00124 Background: Flowering time is an important adaptive life-history trait in plants. Capsella rubella, a close relative of Arabidopsis thaliana and—in evolutionary time—a…

Variations in Leaf Intercellular Air Spaces

During the course of evolution, the invasion of lands by  plants exposed plant tissues to air, 
which dramatically lowered the resistance for CO2 diffusion to chloroplasts by ~10,000-fold. The evolutionary development of the leaf intercellular airspace was a key innovation that allowed land plants…

Natural Variation Reveals Interplay between C4 Biology and Water Use Efficiency

The year 2016 marked a half-century since the discovery of C4 photosynthesis, yet we still seek to elucidate many of the mechanisms underpinning the C4 cycle. Although C4 and C3 plants share molecular units involved in photosynthesis (Miyao, 2003; Kellogg, 2013), C4 plants have unique morphological traits…

Low Xylem Vulnerability in Oaks

Under conditions of drought stress, the continuous column of water in the plant xylem experiences increasing tension caused by declining water potential at the sites of evaporation. Eventually, air is drawn into the water transport system, forming embolisms in the xylem conduits. Although plants have…

Perspective: Farming with crops and rocks to address global climate, food and soil security (Nature Plants)

Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are causing wide-ranging climate abnormalities. Beerling et al. discuss ways to capture CO2 in soils through augmenting soils with crushed basalt, or silicate-rich wastes such as sugarcane mill ash. As the added rock weathers, it reacts with gaseous CO2 to release cations…