Among the 15 locations listed is a freshwater area in Cornwall near St. Just that has 100 species of algae, two of which are classified as rare. Another important area is a coastal site at Lundy Island off Devon with 300 species of algae.Source: PhysOrg.com
Thursday, January 31, 2008
It now seems clear that plants and animals have independently adopted many of the same protein modules for immune surveillance. Many interesting mechanistic and evolutionary parallels are evident upon comparison of immune surveillance in plants and animals, and we look forward to productive, “cross-species” dialog between animal and plant immunologists in the years to come.McDowell, J.M. and Simona, S.A. 2008. Molecular diversity at the plant–pathogen interface. Developmental & Comparative Immunology doi:10.1016/j.dci.2007.11.005
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Barbeta, B.L., Marshall, A.T., Gillon, A.D., Craik, D.J., and Anderson, M.A. 2008. Plant cyclotides disrupt epithelial cells in the midgut of lepidopteran larvae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105(4):1221-1225 DOI:10.1073/pnas.0710338104
[R]eport on significant advances in all aspects of tropical plant biology as well as applications towards genetic diversity and crop improvement."The journal will be edited by Paul H. Moore of the International Consortium for Sugarcane Biotechnology and and Ray Ming of the Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both of whom focus on tropical crops.
Tropical Plant Biology will cover the most rapidly advancing aspects of tropical plant biology including physiology, evolution, development, cellular and molecular biology, cytology, genetics, genomics, comparative genomics, genomic ecology and molecular breeding. It will publish articles of original research as well as review articles. Occasional special issues focused on a single tropical crop species or breakthrough will also be published. The information in this journal will guide efforts to increase the productivity and quality of tropical plants and preserve the world’s plant diversity.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
A forthcoming paper in the Annual Review of Plant Biology looks really interesting: Plastid Evolution. Written by Sven Gould, Ross Waller and Geoffrey McFadden of the University of Melbourne, it looks really promising. From the abstract:
Gould, S.B., Waller, R.F. and McFadden, G.I. 2008. Plastid Evolution. Annual Review of Plant Biology 59
We review the origins, integration, and functions of the different plastid types with special emphasis on their biochemical abilities, transfer of genes to the host, and the back supply of proteins to the endosymbiont.
Bt transgenic crops may affect AMF in many ways during their life with regard to the temporal-spatial relevance between the occurrence of Bt proteins and fungal symbiotic development of AMF. This may lead to an unwelcome surprise with regard to specific abundance and diversity of AMF when Bt transgenic crops are planted continuously. It is concluded that interactions between AMF and Bt transgenic crops at individual and community level are a new urgent soil ecological issue. Some evidence about Bt transgenic crop effects on AMF revealed by recent articles are summarized, and research prospects are highlighted in the paper.Wenke, Liu and Du Lianfeng. 2008. Interactions between Bt transgenic crops and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: a new urgent issue of soil ecology in agroecosystems. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science 58 (2) 187 - 192 DOI:10.1080/09064710701478339
The Ecological Society of America is sponsoring a conference on the Ecological Dimensions of Biofuels in Washington DC on March 10. Registration for the conference closes February 21. The conference website frames the issue:
Production of fuels from plants and agricultural and forestry wastes can reduce both society’s dependence on fossil fuels and net emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. Expanded use of this bioenergy requires assuring that its production and consumption are truly sustainable. This conference will explore the ecological dimensions of biofuels production and will identify management strategies and research opportunities to ensure their sustainability.
Some of the best writing on this issue can be found at Mike Palmer’s blog Low-Impact, High-Diversity Biofuels. Mike Palmer is an ecology professor at Oklahoma State University.
It sounds like a really interesting idea. Hopefully it won't be a cure that's worse than the disease...
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The study, recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, focused on the fungus (Podosphaera plantaginis), the plant (Plantago lanceolata), the checkerspot caterpillar (Melitaea cinxia) and the parasitoid wasp (Cotesia melitaearum) that share habitat in Åland, Finland.The fungal endophyte alters leaf chemistry in the host plant. This slows the growth rate in Melitaea cinxia caterpillars that feed of the plant. The parasitoid wasp lays its eggs on the caterpillar; like other parasitoids, the wasp larvae gradually consume the still-living host. When the female wasp lays her eggs on caterpillars feeding on Podosphaera plantaginis plants, she ends up producing twice as many female as male offspring. A skewed sex ratio improves the success of these wasps in the fragmented habitat in which they live.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
[David Bare, Winston-Salem Journal]
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tahina, which means “blessed” or “to be protected” in Malagasy (and is also the name of the daughter of the Metz family, Anne-Tahina), is a remarkable tree. It is one of the largest palms in Madagascar, growing 10 m tall (20 m according to the BBC article) with stem diameter of 50 cm. It is also hapaxanthic - it reproduces just once in its lifetime and them dies. As a result of this, it puts all of its resources into flowering, producing a 4-m tall inflorescence. (You can see an image of it here.) [more...]
Monday, January 14, 2008
While seedling densities were (unsurprisingly) significantly lower on trails, they were significantly higher within 5 m of the trails. Seedling recruitment showed a similar trend, but the differences were not statistically significant. Between 5 and 20 m from the trails seedling densities were lower than the average for the plot, and recruitment was significantly lower. [more]
The number of people working within the 50-ha plot on any given work day ranges from six to 12, with up to 20 people present in the plot during the main census of trees, which occurs every 5 yr.