Recent Posts

High productivity in hybrid-poplar plantations without isoprene emission to the atmosphere ($) (PNAS)

Many trees emit isoprene (C5H8, a small volatile carbon compound) during hot weather, and isoprenes have been shown to help trees tolerate short bursts of high temperatures (heat flecks). Isoprenes are not themselves harmful, but are reactive and can lead to the production of high levels of ground-level…

Farming plant cooperation in crops (Proc. R. Soc. B.)

If you want a great plant, select for a strong, vigorous, high-yielding individual; this is also the outcome of natural selection. But if you want a great field of plants, these traits may not be as suitable, because the plants will expend energy competing between themselves. When seeds from many plants…

Review: Tomato fruit water accumulation and solute metabolism under water shortage (J. Exp. Bot.)

Deficit irrigation is water-conserving strategy in which a growing plant is given just enough but never too much water. Previous studies have shown myriad physiological changes caused by deficit irrigation including decreased growth rate and shoot:root ratio, and also a lower fruit water content. Here,…

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…