Introducing a new AoBP section, Natural History and Conservation

The new section of the open-access non-profit journal AoBP will focus on revealing unknown ecological, genetic and evolutionary aspects of land plants.

Curiosity, observation and ingenuity fuel scientific development. In biological sciences, it all begins with natural history, which represents an endless source of discoveries. When we add technological advances to this equation, researchers can explore deeper into the biological complexity of ostensibly known species. Natural history also plays a role in conservation science, as some observations may become breakthroughs with important implications for conservation actions and policy.

With this in mind, we would like to announce an important new AoBP subject section, Natural History & Conservation. Joining our existing five sections, this new section will be a forum for revealing unknown ecological, genetic and evolutionary aspects of land plants.

AoBP now has six sections covering a wide diversity of plant science research areas.

The new AoBP section will highlight studies that examine the natural history of terrestrial photosynthetic organisms, including liverworts, mosses, hornworts, ferns, horsetails, gymnosperms and flowering plants. Rather than reporting on mere observations the section will include original research articles, reviews and viewpoints that, based on observations, challenge accepted knowledge, support new hypotheses and/or provide a basis for conservation actions. AoBP particularly welcome research papers that fall in any of the following broad themes:

  • Ecological interactions
    Studies on previously unknown or poorly studied interactions between land plants and other organisms, such as pollinators (insects, lizards, bats, rodents, etc.), microorganisms (bacteria, algae, unicellular fungi, etc.), herbivores (insects, vertebrates, etc.), and symbiotic relationships (mycorrhiza, etc.).
  • Genetics and genomics
    Studies on previously unknown or poorly studied genetic characteristics of land plants, such as ploidy levels, chromosome numbers, cryptic species (detected by molecular means), and phylogenetic relationships.
  • Adaptive characters
    Studies on previously unknown characters and structures of land plants, such as mating and reproductive systems, functional traits, life-history traits and specific adaptations.
  • Conservation
    Studies addressing any of the themes listed above, but stressing the conservation value of the results. In this case, contributions are expected to elaborate and detail a thorough conservation plan to promote the persistence of threatened or endangered land plant taxa.
The common brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni) on Digitalis obscura in the Doñana National Park, Spain. Both the larvae and adults of this butterfly species exhibit cryptic colouration, meaning they match the colour of their habitat. Image credit: F. Molina.

New Section Chief Editor Xavier Picó is really excited about running the new section as he has long seen the need for an outlet for research on the natural history of plants. Xavier states, “as plant biologists we can never forget that the answers to all relevant questions are out there and that hypotheses all begin with observations. As firsthand witnesses to the dramatic loss of biodiversity experienced in recent years, we need more than ever to turn our eyes towards the richness of nature again”.

The La Digue day gecko (Phelsuma sundbergi) on Syzygium wrightii on Mahe island, Seychelles. Endemic to the Seychelles, P. sunbergi is threatened by habitat loss. Image credit: C. Kaiser.

AoBP is a non-profit open-access journal that publishes outputs of rigorous research on all aspects of organismal, environmental, ecological and evolutionary plant biology. AoBP is welcoming submissions for the Natural History & Conservation section now, and if you have any questions please contact Xavier by email or contact him on Twitter, @FXPicoMercader.

Section editor highlight

Xavier Picó obtained a PhD in Biological Science from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) in 2000. Xavier has held postdoctoral research positions in the Department of Ecology at Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2000-2003), the Department of Plant Molecular Genetics at CNB-CSIC, Madrid, Spain (2003-2004), and CREAF, Barcelona, Spain (2004-2006). Since 2006, Xavier has been an associate scientist at the Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) in Sevilla, Spain. He has been an Associate Editor for AoBP since 2013.

Xavier is a population biologist interested in understanding the processes that govern the performance, dynamics and evolution of plant populations across space and over time. His multidisciplinary research integrates data from field studies, common garden experiments, and molecular work using natural populations of the annual plant Arabidopsis thaliana from its western Mediterranean Basin range.

William Salter

William (Tam) Salter is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Sydney Institute of Agriculture at the University of Sydney. He has a bachelor degree in Ecological Science (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in plant ecophysiology from the University of Sydney. Tam is interested in the identification and elucidation of plant traits that could be useful for ecosystem resilience and future food security under global environmental change. He is also very interested in effective scientific communication.

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