The root-soil interface, ancient climates, sustainable agriculture – what’s new in Annals of Botany this week

The root-soil interface, ancient climates, sustainable agriculture – what’s new in Annals of Botany this week .

The root-soil interface A multi-imaging approach to study the root-soil interface
Dynamic processes occurring at the soil–root interface crucially influence soil physical, chemical and biological properties at a local scale around the roots, and are technically challenging to capture in situ. This study presents a novel multi-imaging approach combining fluorescence and neutron radiography that is able to simultaneously monitor root growth, water content distribution, root respiration and root exudation.


Evidence for cryptic northern refugia in the last glacial period in Cryptomeria japonica
Distribution shifts and natural selection during past climatic changes are important factors in determining the genetic structure of forest species. In particular, climatic fluctuations during the Quaternary caused changes in the distribution ranges of plants, and thus affected their genetic structure. This study focusses on the responses of the conifer Cryptomeria japonica to past climatic changes during the last glacial maximum.


Sustainable intensification in agricultural systems
Agricultural systems are amended ecosystems with a variety of properties. Modern agroecosystems have tended towards high through-flow systems, with energy supplied by fossil fuels directed out of the system. In the coming decades, resource constraints over water, soil, biodiversity and land will affect agricultural systems. Sustainable agroecosystems are those tending to have a positive impact on natural, social and human capital, while unsustainable systems feed back to deplete these assets, leaving fewer for the future. Sustainable intensification a process or system where agricultural yields are increased without adverse environmental impact and without the conversion of additional non-agricultural land. This review analyses recent evidence of the impacts of sustainable intensification in both developing and industrialized countries, and demonstrates that both yield and natural capital dividends can occur.


Diversification and the evolution of dispersal ability in the Brassiceae
Dispersal and establishment ability can influence evolutionary processes such as geographic isolation, adaptive divergence and extinction probability. Through these population-level dynamics, dispersal ability may also influence macro-evolutionary processes such as species distributions and diversification. This study examined patterns of evolution of dispersal-related fruit traits, and how the evolution of these traits is correlated with shifts in geographic range size, habitat and diversification rates in the tribe Brassiceae (Brassicaceae).



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