Diversity driven by the earth

Reproduction in the plant world isn’t always boy meets girl, or ‘pollen meets pistil’. Sure, some plants are all about the sexual reproduction, but others like to make children clonally. And others still, take the best of both worlds, changing their method of reproduction to suit their environment and needs.

A recent study reveals how the type of children a plant makes can be all about the soil they grown in. Differences in the soil nutrients can make one reproductive strategy more successful than the other, which ultimately changes the genetic makeup of local populations.… Read more

This is why organic soils lead to more resistant plants

When we deal with pests on crop lands, we usually stick to a few straightforward strategies. We either try to breed more resistant plants or we spray them with specific and less specific pesticides. Organic farming – while still using some spray-on pesticides – has vowed to reduce their use. And as researchers recently discovered, they might do very well without them. … Read more

The bite of the bumblebee

Bees and plants have a strange kind of codependency going on. Plants need bees for pollinating, and bees need pollen to feed their young. So it’s helpful for both parties if everyone involved can coordinate their calendars.

But if the flowers are lacking and the bees get hungry, well then, that’s when the bees begin to bite.… Read more

Not to stimulate cats, they said

This post is inspired by two great friends. One, VL, who makes it her job to alert me of any and all of the cat-science news and sent around a paper about Cat Mint aka Nepeta spp., and the evolution of the chemicals – nepetalactones – that make cats go crazy.

And another, FM, who read this part of that paper’s abstract:

Most likely, the adaptive function of nepetalactones in Nepeta is to protect against herbivorous insects, not to stimulate cats […]”

And responded jokingly that he preferred his science with a little less opinion.… Read more

The best scientists are the ones with the great CD collections

When we scientists look at plants, we’ve traditionally tended to focus on the bits of the plant that we can see. And yet the roots of the plant, which physically support the above-ground structures while also hauling in the water and basic nutrients the plant needs, go a long way to defining the productivity and fitness of the organism. So how do we observe what plants are doing underground?… Read more

Let’s get Fascinated

Today, 18th of May, is International Fascination of Plants Day.

If you want to find out more about the day, go here. If you want to read some of our favourite stories about plant science from the last year, read on!… Read more

Endangered Species Day – A Plea for Plants

Today, May 15th 2020, is Endangered Species Day*, a day designed to raise awareness about the many species that are threatened by human activity in our changing world.

When thinking of endangered species, we tend to immediately picture large and visible mammals, like pandas, tigers, whales and gorillas. But of course, there are organisms across all kingdoms of life that have been impacted. Including out beloved carbon-fixing friends.

So we thought we’d take a quick second to make a plea for plants.… Read more

Tools of the Trade: GFP

Today we’re taking a look at one of the molecular biology’s most commonly used tools- but in this case we’re not talking about a physical thing like a pipette or a PCR machine…

Let’s take a quick look at GFP.… Read more

Let’s begin with ABCD

So this blog is mostly about plants, but we wanted to quickly give a shoutout to a new article that hits on another topic that’s incredibly important in the world of science.… Read more