The goal of this blog is to explore the inner workings of plants, on which we all depend for our existence.
In this blog, I’ll primarily focus on sharing new information about plant function (a.k.a., plant physiology).
I prefer to approach this subject mainly from the perspective of the life of a typical flowering plant (angiosperm): seed germination, plant development, how plants make a living from day-to-day, and, finally, flowering and plant death.
Along the way, I’ll feature topics of current relevance, such as the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 on plants, the use of plants to clean the environment (phytoremediation), and the extraction of biofuels from plants.
Ultimately, it’s all about how plants work.
Who Is This Guy?
My name is Richard Stout, and I live in Bellingham, Washington. I received a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1980. Since then, I’ve taught biology, biochemistry, botany, and plant physiology as a faculty member at Williams College (Williamstown, MA) and Montana State University (Bozeman, MT). While at MSU, I was fortunate to be able to do some plant-related research in Yellowstone National Park (see here, for example).
In May, 2008, I said goodbye to academia, and so now I have time to pursue other interests, such as this blog.
This weblog is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Dave Rayle, who was both mentor and friend.
Dave was a member of the faculty in the Dept. of Biology at San Diego State University for many years.
He, along with Prof. Bob Cleland at the University of Washington, discovered how the plant hormone auxin stimulates plant cell growth.
Known as the “Acid Growth Theory” (PDF), this hypothesis has become one of the fundamental concepts of how plants grow.
And the acid growth theory may also have implications beyond the plant hormone auxin, since the acidification of the cell wall may also play a role in the growth of other walled cells, such as in fungi and protists.
Dave was also an avid (rabid?) fisherman.
He rarely passed up any opportunity to go fishing, whether for winter-run steelhead during blizzards on the Skykomish River in Washington state or for rainbow trout during summer float trips on the Smith River in Montana.
Dave Rayle was both a scientist and fisherman extraordinaire.
It was my great good fortune to have known him.
And as he was a great teacher, as well as a great scientist, this site – all about how plants work – is dedicated to him.