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Does eclipse equal night in plant life?

On August 21, 2017, about 215 million American adults watched one of nature's most dramatic events: a total solar eclipse. However, most of the country could only see a partial eclipse. The path of the total eclipse was a strip just 70 miles wide, arcing across the country from Oregon to South Carolina.


Study examines medicinal compound in plant roots

Xanthones are specialized metabolites with antimicrobial properties that are found in the roots of medicinal plants called Hypericum perforatum, also known as St. John's wort. A New Phytologist study sheds light on the sites of synthesis and accumulation of xanthones in roots.


Rising temperatures put Africa’s rice production at risk

A new modeling study published today warns that the dry-season irrigated rice in West Africa’s Sahel region has reached the critical threshold of 37 degrees Celcius – the tipping point. Further temperature rise could devastate rice yields in this region due to decreasing photosynthesis at high temperatures.


Forest resilience declines in face of wildfires, climate change

The forests you see today are not what you will see in the future. That's the overarching finding from a new study on the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests, led by Colorado State University.


New study identifies genetic basis for western corn rootworm resistance in maize

Farmers are stuck. Western corn rootworm can destroy cornfields – and profits – but populations of the “billion-dollar bug” have stopped responding to insecticides and the genetically modified corn hybrids designed to resist insect attacks. But there may be hope. In a new study, University of Illinois researchers uncover the genetic basis of resistance to western corn rootworm, paving the way for development of non-GM corn hybrids that can withstand the worm.


African deforestation not as great as feared

The loss of forests in Africa in the past century is substantially less than previously estimated, an analysis of historical records and paleontology evidence by Yale University researchers shows.


Reductions in individual plant growth sometimes boost community resilience

In sports, sometimes a player has to take one for the team. The same appears to be true in the plant world, where reduced individual growth can benefit the broader community.


Anesthetics have the same effects on plants as they have on animals and humans

A new study published in Annals of Botany shows that plants react to anesthetics similarly to the way animals and humans do, suggesting plants are ideal objects for testing anesthetics actions in future.


Head start through human intervention: Study on the spread of European plant species on other continents

More and more plant species are introduced to new areas through humans. Often, however, it is not clear which factors decide whether plants can permanently settle in their new environment. An international research team including Mark van Kleunen, ecology professor at the University of Konstanz, shows for the first time how ties to different habitats control the human-induced spread of European plant species on other continents. The research results have been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Innovative system images photosynthesis to provide picture of plant health

Researchers have developed a new imaging system that is designed to monitor the health of crops in the field or greenhouse. The new technology could one day save farmers significant money and time by enabling intelligent agricultural equipment that automatically provides plants with water or nutrients at the first signs of distress. With further development, the system has the potential to be used aboard unmanned aerial vehicles to remotely monitor crops.


Study finds ways to avoid hidden dangers of accumulated stresses on seagrass

A new Queensland University of Technology (QUT)-led study has found ways to detect hidden dangers of repeated stresses on seagrass using statistical modelling.


Forests are the key to fresh water

Freshwater resources are critical to both human civilization and natural ecosystems, but University of British Columbia researchers have discovered that changes to ground vegetation can have as much of an impact on global water resources as climate change.


Researchers model optimal amount of rainfall for plants

Researchers have determined what could be considered a "Goldilocks" climate for rainfall use by plants: not too wet and not too dry.


Dust plays significant role fertilizing mountain plants

Trees growing atop the Bald Mountain Granite in the southern Sierra Nevada rely on nutrients from windblown atmospheric dust -- more than 50 percent -- compared to nutrients provided from underlying bedrock.


Quantifying the greenhouse gas footprint of crop cultivation

"Climate-smart" crop cultivation, characterized by a low greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, low synthetic nitrogen consumption, and simultaneously high yields, is an approach in agriculture for implementing the Paris Agreement as part of mitigating climate change. The GHG footprint is an index used to indicate the climate change impact potential exerted by crop production. It is therefore crucial to accurately quantify the GHG footprints of crop cultivation systems. However, severe problems or drawbacks in the quantification of GHG footprints still exist, which has limited the applicability of the GHG footprint in crop cultivation.


Wheat gets boost from purified nanotubes

The introduction of purified carbon nanotubes appears to have a beneficial effect on the early growth of wheatgrass, according to Rice University scientists. But in the presence of contaminants, those same nanotubes could do great harm.


Caterpillar attacks allow aphids to sneak up on plants

A study in New Phytologist indicates that plants prioritize the protection of flowers over leaves and that simultaneous attack by aphids, caterpillars and bacteria leaves plants vulnerable to aphids but more protected from caterpillars.


UGR research calls current methods of studying photosynthesis into question

New theory developed by Prof. Andrew Kowalski, which records non-diffusive gas transport, key to calculating water use efficiency and CO2 concentrations in plants


Shining a light on plant growth and development

Plants don't have eyes, but they do "see" their surroundings using light.


Invasive plants have unprecedented ability to pioneer new continents and climates

It's no secret that globalization, aided by climate change, is helping invasive species gain a foothold across the planet. What came as something of a surprise to Virginia Tech researchers was just how mutable these invaders are.


Drought-resistant plant genes could accelerate evolution of water-use efficient crops

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a common set of genes that enable different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions, which could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.


Bottle gourd genome provides insight on evolutionary history, relationships of cucurbits

Researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and collaborators in China and France have produced the first high-quality genome sequence for the bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) and a reconstructed genome of the most recent Cucurbitaceae ancestor.


From Alaska to Amazonia: First global maps of traits that drive vegetation growth

Detailed global maps of key traits in higher plants have been made available for the first time, thanks to work led by researchers from the University of Minnesota's (UMN) College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS).


Belowground fungal interactions with trees help explain non-native plant invasions

New research published by a team of scientists from the US Forest Service and Purdue University suggests that tiny soil fungi that help and are helped by trees may influence a forest's vulnerability to invasion by non-native plants.


Higher plant species richness may not be enough to protect ecosystems from the worst impacts of climate extremes

Studies on mild fluctuations in weather have provided support for the idea that higher biodiversity results in more stable functioning of ecosystems, but critical appraisal of the evidence from extreme event studies is lacking.


Fighting plant disease at warm temperatures keeps food on the table

An issue of global concern is the anticipated shortage of agricultural output to meet the steady rise in human population. Michigan State University scientists understand that overcoming crop loss due to disease and adverse weather will be key in achieving this goal.


Large-scale approach reveals imperfect actor in plant biotechnology

A research team led by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has harnessed metabolomic technologies to unravel the molecular activities of a key protein that can enable plants to withstand a common herbicide. Their findings reveal how the protein -- a kind of catalyst or enzyme, first isolated in bacteria and introduced into plants, including crops such as corn and soybeans, in the 1990's -- can sometimes act imprecisely, and how it can be successfully re-engineered to be more precise. The new study, which appears online in the journal Nature Plants, raises the standards for bioengineering in the 21st century.


Novel wheat microbiome analysis conducted under four management strategies

Different crop management strategies can produce various and noticeable effects on a crop and its yield. But what are the effects at the microbial level...not just in the roots but the entire plant?


Barley is flavor of the month as new study settles centuries-old brewing debate

What makes a perfectly flavoured pint? It's been the obsession of brewers big and small for centuries.


To address hunger effectively, first check the weather, says new study

Too little rain, or too much, is often a driver of poverty and hunger, leading to poor nutrition and food insecurity among vulnerable populations. According to a new study, rainfall patterns also provide clues on how to most effectively alleviate food insecurity.