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Category Archive for 'Ecological Physiology'

From Where Potatoes Came From to Where Agriculture Is Going Last November the plant research news ranged from the past history of one of our most important crop plants to the future of agriculture in the 21st century. November is the month of Thanksgiving in the USA, and one common feature of today’s Thanksgiving feasts […]

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From How Sunflowers Track The Sun To Where Strawberries Came From The eighth month of the year may be when many people are on holiday (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). But plant science news didn’t take a holiday. Indeed, there were so many popular reports published last August, it was difficult for me to […]

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The “Inside” Story? An article in Science magazine (see Ref. 1 below) reports evidence supporting the hypothesis that leaf-dwelling, nitrogen-fixing bacteria may provide host plants with significant amounts of nitrogen. In the past, we briefly explored the microbial phyllosphere, that is, the microbes – including nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria – that dwell on the surfaces of plant […]

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Dandelions – Much Maligned. Yes, it’s that time of year again in the upper left-hand corner of the USA when the dandelions are making themselves highly visible (by flowering). This prompted me to to consolidate and update a couple of previous dandelion-related posts. A lot of people are pissed off by dandelions. Few plants generate […]

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Are Plants Smarter Than Smartphones? We’re back for Round 2 of the iPhone vs. plant rematch: Which is more intelligent, an iPhone 6 or a plant? If you missed Rematch, Round 1, here it is. (I think the iPhone 6 clearly took the first round.) By the way, this contest mainly has to do with […]

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From Anthropocene To Eocene II? A mountainside near where I live gave way in January 2009 (as a result of torrential rains) resulting in Racehorse Creek rock slide. This landslide revealed a treasure-trove of fossils, mainly 55-million-year old fossils of plants that were alive during the Eocene. Most interestingly, perhaps, this time corresponds to to […]

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By 2050, What Will Be The Greatest Human Impact on Plants? I first encountered the term “anthropocene” back in 2007 when I was writing a manuscript regarding some of our research in Yellowstone National Park (see Ref. 1 below). A more detailed view regarding the nature and implications of the anthropocene is presented on YouTube […]

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Pancakes With A Side of Math What better time to talk about where maple syrup comes from than “sap season”? This is time of the year – early March – when the sap typically is flowing in the sugar maple trees that grow in the northeastern part of North America. What drew my attention to […]

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Plant Networking Many neighboring plants may be interconnected by an underground fungal network known as mycorrhizae. (See a previous post on the subject.) These soil fungi, called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), are found in virtually all terrestrial ecosystems, and they form symbiotic relationships with a wide variety of plants. The plants supply sugars produced by […]

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Fast-Forward Flowering Do many plants seem to you to be flowering earlier in the spring? You may be correct. One of the most interesting scientific articles I’ve recently read reports that plants are indeed flowering earlier, and, more significantly, faster than most experimental models have predicted. (Excellent summaries of this report, including photos, can be […]

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