Plants monitor a wide range of information from their surrounding environment. They combine information of multiple sorts, and respond in an appropriate way. In plants there is no brain, and the information processing is distributed across the plant body. This video of a prize lecture by Professor Ottoline Leyser is made available via the Royal Society and is well worth watching (click the image to watch the recording):
David Baulcombe’s eminently watchable keynote talk from the UK Plant Sciences Federation conference, PlantSci 2013:
This demo from Science and Plants for Schools demonstrates a quick and easy plant practical for biology labs. Using Universal Indicator paper, students investigate the pH of nettle stings. This can easily be built up into a broader investigation, or used as a quick practical to introduce the topics of plant defences, adaptations and specialised cells.
Download the full student sheet and teacher’s and technical notes free from the SAPS website:
Tim J Flowers and Tim D Colmer
Saline ecosystems are a familiar feature in many continents. The seas and oceans of the world, which contain on average about 3.5% (w/v) salt, cover some 72% of the surface of the globe and so it is inevitable that salt affects some of the land. These natural salt-affected areas are characterized by a unique flora of halophytes, with an unusual ability to cope with salinity, far above that of most plants. These abilities of halophytes to cope with highly saline soils offer important models for understanding salt tolerance in plants, providing insights beyond studies of stress responses of non-halophytes more commonly reported in the scientific literature. Halophytic ecosystems have been studied (and modelled) as have their soils, their microbiology and their productivity. Recent research is highlighting physiological and molecular aspects of the adaptations of halophytes to salinity.
There has been a steady increase of research publications on the effects of salinity on plants since the 1960s, with a three-fold increase in the number of papers a year (with salin* and plant* in the topic) between the years 2001-2002 and 2011-2012. This reflects a growing realisation of the impact of salinity for world agriculture. Irrigated agriculture, perhaps the most productive of agricultural systems, is affected by salinisation with some 20% of the irrigated area being sufficiently salt-affected to reduce or prevent cropping. Large areas of dryland/rainfed agriculture are also impacted, or threatened by, spreading salinisation as a consequence of changed hydrological regimes resulting from clearance of the perennial native vegetation. Rising sea-levels threaten low-lying coastal regions across the world, many of the most vulnerable of which lie in economically less developed countries.
In 2009 a COST Action ‘Putting halophytes to work – from genes to ecosystems’ brought together the expertise of plant scientists, soil scientists and microbiologists to generate a new understanding of the ecosystems in which halophytes grow and flourish; an understanding that was designed to inform the management of coastal environments, suggest the creation of a new saline agriculture using halophytic species and aid the generation of salt tolerant crops. Participants in this Action are now, with the support of the Annals of Botany, organising a conference on halophytes in Coimbra, Portugal, in April 2014 and a Special Issue of the Annals of Botany, to be published in early 2015. Authors already committed to contribute to the Special Issue are Dorothea Bartels, Hans Bohnert, Lindell Bromham, Tim Colmer, Nina Federoff, Tim Flowers, Rana Munns, Moshe Sagi, Sergey Shabala and Ismail Turkan, with topics ranging from the evolution of halophytes through their ecophysiology, cell physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology to their domestication for use in agriculture. This is an open call for submission of papers on halophytes for consideration for inclusion in the Special Issue, following the usual peer-review process.
We are keen to include further papers describing original research or reviews on halophytes. If you have such a manuscript that you would like us to consider, please send an outline (Title, Authors and 250 to 500 words) before November 2013 to email@example.com. If agreed, the full paper would need to be submitted by 01 April 2014, in order to enter the full review process. The deadline has now passed.
The Special Issue of Annals of Botany on Halophytes will be guest-edited by T.J. Flowers & T.D. Colmer.
plantendomembrane describes this video as follows:
Dancing fluorescent Golgi bodies in tobacco leaf cells, visualised with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Plant Golgi bodies move through the cell along the actin cytoskeleton. We are able to see them with a light microscope with the help of green fluorescent protein (GFP). We then edited the movies in Adobe Premiere to add the rainbow hue-change effect. We like to think they might do this in reality too.
Director: Benoît Huc – Tango Vidéo – assisted by Anne Noël. 31 minute documentary made for the Philippe De Zuttere Bryological Foundation. Discovery of the plant mosses with Philippe Dezuttere, field bryologist.
The Plant Science TREE (Tool for Research Engaged Education) is an on-line teaching tool giving access to inspirational educational resources from the research community.
The Plant Science TREE provides access to around 2,000 downloadable research-informed lecture slides, animations, films and over 30 on-line lectures from the Gatsby Plant Science Summer Schools. With over 80 contributors a key strength of this teaching tool is that it is being developed by the research community. All downloadable content has been copyright cleared for educational use.
The Plant Science TREE is part of The Gatsby Plant Science Summer School Project. The producers have worked with the plant science reserch community to develop this educational resource using tried and tested teaching slides, lectures, animations, etc. from researchers who also teach. Content is updated by lectures from the annual summer school, delivered by world-leading experts covering global challenge issues and curiosity-driven research such as engineering metabolism for healthy foods; strategies to address food security; understanding biological circadian rhythms and more.
A new facility enables users to upload their own high quality slides or other resources, for which their contribution is credited.
Please take a look – browse or search a topic of interest and see if the downloadable resources (all cleared for copyright) help your teaching. Please also promote The TREE to non plant scientists in your departments who might find a relevant slide or two to show how plant science research contributes to our general understanding of biology.
It’s a little known fact that AoB Blog has an email subscription option – just put your email address into the box on the top right corner of the blog. We won’t spam you and you control your own subscription (frequency of messages, leave whenever you want to).
Just make sure the confirmation email for your subscription doesn’t get caught in your spam filter