The Week in Botany

The Week in Botany 12

We have a weekly email that we send out Monday mornings curating the botanical links we’ve shared on Twitter. Here’s the one we shared last Monday. If you’d like to get the next issue in your email box on Monday morning then you can sign up here.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Summer is drawing to a close, and the fruits of Autumn are ripening in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, if you live in the better hemisphere then Spring is on its way. Wherever you are we seem to be in a period of people either being on holiday or just coming back. However, the botanical stories keep coming. You can follow them as they arrive @annbot of Twitter.

From AoBBlog

The intricate intracellular structure of a rice mesophyll cell
Oi et al. examine whole rice mesophyll cells using a Focus Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM).

The Switch To Generation Sex…
Hugh Dickinson on a new article in Science that sheds more light on the Alternation of the Generations. When does a diploid plant decide to become a haploid?

What! Plants can hear water???
The idea that plants can hear is controversial, but Nigel Chaffey finds the evidence keeps building.

Stress or Strain Gradient Hypothesis?
Liancourt et al. investigate variation in plant interactions, by analysing how Caragana versicolorspecies and associated community perceive and respond to the ambient level of stress, over the species’ entire elevation range in the arid Trans-Himalayas.

Stigmatic limitations on reproductive success in a paleotropical tree
A recent article published by Raina et al. in AoB PLANTS focuses on how thigmotropic stigmas, which open, close and re-open in response to touch, play a role in limiting fruit set of plants in their non-native environment.

Dissecting the secrets of sexual attraction in orchids
How do pollinators drive evolution in flowering plants? A team from Calabria has investigated a relationship between insects and orchids.

Uncovering the Plant Pompeii
While excavating in El Salvador, archaeologists sometimes found nothing at all – and that gave a surprising insight into what the ancient Maya grew.

Evolving towards introgression: hybridization and hybrid swarms
The extent to which hybridization leads to gene flow between plant species depends on the structure of hybrid populations. To assess possible variation in a hybrid population structure, Yan et al. evaluate magnitude and direction of natural hybridization between two diploid Chinese endemic species Rhododendron spiciferum and R. spinuliferum.

Developing Sustainable Bioenergy Crops for Future Climates 24-27th September 2017

You are welcome to join us at Bioenergy 2017. This meeting will bring together researchers, breeders, growers and policy makers who are concerned with the development of new bioenergy crops for future climates.

News and Links

Mexico’s prickly pear cactus: energy source of the future?
The cactus’s thick outer layer, with all those spines, has always been a waste product—until researchers developed a biogas generator to turn it into electricity. TechXplore

Moss may prove cheap city pollution monitor, study finds
Common moss changes shape in areas of high nitrogen pollution and drought and has potential to be big bioindicator, say scientists. The Guardian

Stitching Together Forests Can Help Save Species, Study Finds
In the 1980s, an ecologist named Thomas Lovejoy conducted an unusual experiment in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. As loggers moved in with chain saws to clear trees for cattle pasture north of Manaus, he asked them to leave untouched several small “islands” of forest to see how the animals within them fared. NY Times

Tracking Down the Jumping Genes of Maize
The “jumping genes” of maize have finally been mapped by an international team led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The discovery could ultimately benefit the breeding and production of maize, one of the world’s most important crops. UC Davis

Bartram’s Garden
The oldest surviving botanic garden in the United States.  Atlas Obscura

The soul of the rose
For more than 400 years, since the time of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, the Indian city of Kannauj has been distilling flowers to make perfume. But the industry is in decline. Synthetic perfumes are pushing the distilleries towards closure – and these exquisite scents may soon be lost forever. BBC

Combatting the Impostor Syndrome in academic science – you probably are as smart as they think!
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong in academic science? Do you think that you aren’t as smart as the people across the lab bench or that everyone else understands the seminar except you? Do you think that someone made a mistake accepting you in graduate school, publishing your paper, or giving you that fellowship? Do you worry that you’ll say something wrong and everyone will realize you are a fraud? If so, you might be suffering from Impostor Syndrome. Plantae

A bold open-access push in Germany could change the future of academic publishing
In a third-floor conference room here overlooking the famous Potsdamer Platz, once bisected by the Berlin Wall, the future of academic publishing is being negotiated. The backdrop is fitting, because if the librarians and academic leaders at the table get their way, another major divide will soon fall: the paywall that surrounds most research papers. Science

Long-term relationships
Ecological research projects that span decades provide unprecedented insight into the functioning and dynamics of populations, communities and ecosystems. We should treasure and protect them. Nature Ecology and Evolution

Nasturtiums are one of my favourite plants. “Like lily pads but in the air” is how my partner, Liv, describes their appearance, and she’s nailed it. Pollen and Plants

Call for Papers: Special issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction

Botanists have long been fascinated by the extraordinary diversity in flowering plant reproductive patterns and have sought to understand theecological processes and genetic mechanisms influencing plant mating. Over the last five years, research progress in this discipline has rapidly accelerated. Important new insights in this field often combine elegant theoretical models with innovative field and laboratory experiments. Annals of Botany will release a Special Issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant Reproduction in January 2019, and it will highlight papers from 3 symposia at the XIX International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China. See the full call for papers for more information.

Scientific Papers

Analysis of Population Genomic Data from Hybrid Zones
Herein, we clarify what hybrid zones are, what is (and is not) known about them, and how different types of genomic data contribute to our understanding of hybrid zones.Wethen review two key topics, namely, what genomic analyses of hybrid zones have revealed about the basis and dynamics of speciation and how hybrid zones directly affect evolutionary processes. Annual Reviews

Brassinosteroid signaling-dependent root responses to prolonged elevated ambient temperature
Here we present strong evidence that temperature elevation impinges on brassinosteroid hormone signaling to alter root growth. We show that elevated temperature leads to increased root elongation, independently of auxin or factors known to drive temperature-mediated shoot growth. Nature Communications

Stomatal development: focusing on the grasses
This review revisits how stomatal developmental unfolds in grasses, and identifies key ontogenetic steps for which knowledge of the underpinning molecular mechanisms remains outstanding. Current Opinion in Plant Biology

Demographic drivers of functional composition dynamics
We present a novel conceptual framework to quantify the contribution of demographic processes (i.e., growth, recruitment, and mortality) to temporal changes in CWMs. We used this framework to analyze mechanisms of secondary succession in wet tropical forests in Mexico. Ecology

Predicting gene regulatory networks by combining spatial and temporal gene expression data in Arabidopsis root stem cells
We developed a computational pipeline that uses gene expression datasets for inferring relationships among genes and predicting their importance. We showed that the capacity of our pipeline to integrate spatial and temporal transcriptional datasets improves the performance of inference algorithms. PNAS

Bridging Inter- and Intraspecific Trait Evolution with a Hierarchical Bayesian Approach
Here, we present a model of phenotypic trait evolution using a hierarchical Bayesian approach that simultaneously incorporates interspecific and intraspecific variation. We assume that species-specific trait means evolve under a simple Brownian motion process, whereas species-specific trait variances are modeled with Brownian or Ornstein–Uhlenbeck processes. Systematic Biology

Phototropin perceives temperature based on the lifetime of its photoactivated state
Our findings reveal that the chromophore of phototropin directs chloroplast positioning to optimize photosynthesis in plants by (i) sensing blue light and (ii) sensing temperature via a temperature-dependent lifetime mechanism. PNAS

Clathrin Heavy Chain subunits coordinate endo- and exocytic traffic and affect stomatal movement
The current model for vesicular traffic to and from the plasma membrane is accepted but the molecular requirements for this coordination are not well defined. We have identified the has1 mutant, which has a stomatal function defect, as a clathrin heavy chain 1 (CHC1) mutant allele and show that it has a decreased rate of endocytosis and growth defects that are shared with other chc1 mutant alleles. Plant Physiology

The genomic rate of adaptation in the fungal wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici
Here we apply a population genomic approach to infer genome-wide patterns of selection among thirteen isolates of the fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Based on whole genome alignments, we report extensive presence-absence polymorphisms of genes resulting from a high extent of within population karyotypic variation. bioRxiv

Evolution of nuclear auxin signaling: lessons from genetic studies with basal land plants
In this review, we summarize the latest knowledge of the nuclear auxin pathway gained from studies using basal plants, including charophycean green algae and two major model bryophytes, Marchantia polymorpha and Physcomitrella patensJXB

Temporal variations in methane emissions from emergent aquatic macrophytes in two boreonemoral lakes
Methane (CH4) emissions via emergent aquatic macrophytes can contribute substantially to the global CH4 balance. We addressed temporal variability in CH4 flux by using the static chamber approach to quantify fluxes from plots dominated by two species considered to differ in flux transport mechanisms (Phragmites australisCarex rostrata). AoB PLANTS

ratematrix: An R package for studying evolutionary integration among several traits on phylogenetic trees
We introduce a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo approach to estimate the evolutionary correlation among two or more traits using the evolutionary rate matrix (R). R is a covariance matrix that represents both the rates of evolution of each trait and the structure of evolutionary correlation among traits. Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Would you like to write for AoBBlog? Ian Street, our Resources Editor, is looking for people willing to write reviews. These could be of books or apps or anything else of use or interest to botanically-minded people. I’ve just finished The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena, and it is brilliant. I might need to expand that a bit to around 300 words though. If you’re interested contact Ian Street @ihstreet on Twitter or AoBBlog.

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