The last student enrolled in a pure “Botany” degree in the UK began in the University of Bristol this year, 2010. In recent years only the University of Reading also offered the Botany degree, before it was dropped there 3 years ago. This short article is written to draw attention to this fact and to a more general relative decline in the number of students pursuing degrees in plant science highlighted in a recent extensive report on the “Uptake of Plant Sciences in the UK” completed in 2009. We explore potential implications and causes by focusing on third level education, specifically full time degree courses as available through the UCAS application system. Findings are related to the preceding secondary school education and succeeding employment market that surround and influence the undergraduate experience.
Studies of the effects of pollination on floral scent and bee visitation remain rare, particularly in agricultural crops. Rodriguez-Saona et al. study highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, and find that flowers left open to pollination have 32 % lower volatile emissions than those from which pollinators have been excluded. Field observations indicate that more bees visit bushes with pollinator-excluded flowers, suggesting that greater emissions of volatiles help guide bees to unpollinated flowers and thus increase plant fitness.