Growth rate distribution in the forming lateral root of arabidopsis
Microscopic observations of lateral roots (LRs) in Arabidopsis thaliana reveal that the cross-sectional shape of the organ changes from its basal to its apical region. The founder cells for LRs are elongated along the parent root axis, and thus from the site of initiation the base of LRs resemble an ellipse. The circumference of the apical part of LRs is usually a circle. The objective of this study was to analyse the characteristics of changes in the growth ﬁeld of LRs possessing various shapes in their basal regions. This is the ﬁrst report of a description of growth of an asymmetric plant organ using the growth tensor method. The mathematical modelling adopted in the study provides new insights into plant organ formation and shape.
Contribution of above- and below-ground plant traits to the structure and function of grassland soil microbial communities
Abiotic properties of soil are known to be major drivers of the microbial community within it. Our understanding of how soil microbial properties are related to the functional structure and diversity of plant communities, however, is limited and largely restricted to above-ground plant traits, with the role of below-ground traits being poorly understood. This study investigates the relative contributions of soil abiotic properties and plant traits, both above-ground and below-ground, to variations in microbial processes involved in grassland nitrogen turnover.
Responses to shading of naturalized and non-naturalized exotic woody species
Recent studies have suggested that responses to shading gradients may play an important role in establishment success of exotic plants, but hitherto few studies have tested this. Therefore, a common-garden experiment was conducted using multiple Asian woody plant species that were introduced to Europe >100 years ago in order to test whether naturalized and non-naturalized species differ in their responses to shading. Specifically, a test was carried out to determine whether naturalized exotic woody species maintained better growth under shaded conditions, and whether they expressed greater (morphological and physiological) adaptive plasticity in response to shading, relative to non-naturalized species.
The development of halophyte-based agriculture: past and present
Freshwater comprises about a mere 2·5 % of total global water, of which approximately two-thirds is locked into glaciers at the polar ice caps and on mountains. In conjunction with this, in many instances irrigation with freshwater causes an increase in soil salinity due to overirrigation of agricultural land, inefficient water use and poor drainage of unsuitable soils. The problem of salinity was recognized a long time ago and, due to the importance of irrigated agriculture, numerous efforts have been devoted towards improving crop species for better utilization of saline soils and water. Irrigating plants with saline water is a challenge for practitioners and researchers throughout the world. This review critically analyses past and present halophyte-based production systems in the context of genetics, physiology, agrotechnical issues and product value. There are still difficulties that need to be overcome, such as direct germination in saline conditions or genotype selection. However, more and more research is being directed not only towards determining salt tolerance of halophytes, but also to the improvement of agricultural traits for long-term progress.