Recent Posts

A novel hypothesis for the role of photosynthetic physiology in shaping macroevolutionary patterns (Plant Physiol)

In the 450 million(ish) years since plants acquired the ability to live on land, they have caused dramatic changes in the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and O2 levels. As an example, due to tremendous increases in photosynthesis, CO2 levels dropped and O2 levels rose dramatically in the late Paleozoic…

Increased atmospheric vapor pressure deficit reduces global vegetation growth (Science Advances)

Plant scientists know that when the air at the leaf surface is dry, the plant will tend to close its stomata, but we tend to think of this as a relatively localized effect. Yuan et al. have explored the global trends in vapor pressure deficit (VPD; difference between saturated and real water content…

Manganese deficiency affects root endodermal suberization and ion homeostasis (Plant Physiol.)

Manganese (Mn) is an essential plant nutrient necessary for multiple plant process such as photosynthesis. Mn deficiency has a significant impact on crop production particularly in cereals including barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Chen et al. identified how Mn deficiency alters suberin deposition in the …

Drought conditions reduce root-feeding nematode predator populations (PNAS)

Climate change is expected to cause numerous negative impacts on plant populations. An under considered area that will be affected are the communities of soil organisms that rely on a delicate balance of environmental conditions, particularly in grasslands that receive moderate precipitation (mesic grasslands).…

Review: Source–sink regulation in crops under water deficit ($) (Trends Plant Sci)

Plants have a remarkable ability to coordinate cellular activities across huge distances, yet we have only a basic understanding of how these remote activities are coordinated. A review by Rodrigues et al. summarizes what we know about the relationship between source (e.g., photosynthetic tissues) and…

Modeling crop yield changes due to increased photosynthetic capabilities ($) (Nature Plants)

With the need to feed the growing population and the threat of global climate change, there is an imminent need to increase crop yields. One commonly accepted method of accomplishing this is by enhancing the photosynthetic capability of major crop plants, which may result in an increased yield. A recent…

Optogenetic manipulation of stomatal kinetics improves carbon assimilation, water use, and growth ($) (Science)

Optogenetics is a biotechnique that uses light-sensitive molecules to regulate cell activity. In plants, stomatal aperture mediates both CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and water loss by transpiration. The carbon-water trade-off control affects water use efficiency (WUE). Here, Papanatsiou et al. studied…

Review: Exploiting natural variation and genetic manipulation of stomatal conductance for crop improvement (COPB)

Identifying methods to improve crop productivity is vital considering the devastating consequences of climate change (e.g., frequent droughts). Stomatal conductance influences photosynthesis and water use efficiency, which are two important indicators of crop yield. Here, Faralli et al. discuss advances…

Special Issue: Root Biology (Physiologia Plantarum)

The year 2019 kicks off with a special issue on root biology, with all articles free to access for six months. Topics include interactions of roots with parasites and symbionts, root branching, transport in the root system, and roots of woody species. (Summary by Mary Williams) Physiologia Plantarum…