When you think of RNA, you might tend to think of a text-book perfect straight lines of As, Us, Cs and Gs. But the reality is, that within a living cell, RNA dances as a complex structure, full of twirls and loops. And when plants (and presumably other organisms – but this blog is about plants) are challenged with changing conditions, those structures begin to twist and change…… Read more
As researchers, stressing plants is one of our favourite tasks. We withhold water, raise and drop the temperature, bring in some bugs, or spray our plants with chemicals. All just to see how they react. Most of the time, we pick a particular type of stress and investigate how plants cope with the situation. But outside of the lab, of course, stresses rarely come alone.
It’s time to investigate combined stresses.… Read more
The other day, I was podcasting with Tegan and, as she often does, she described another fascinating carnivorous plant: Nepenthes aristolochioides has a large pitcher that lures flies into it to digest them. It got me thinking, the traps of carnivorous plants are these intricate, specialised organs that look so very different from the leaves, stems and flowers of other plants. I wanted to know how they are formed.… Read more
Sometimes, when I think about conservation, the world seems all kinds of bleak.
Ecosystems are being damaged, plants and animals are dying, and the indirect human impact of the climate crisis only serves to accelerate the effects of direct environmental destruction. There isn’t an easy solution to it all – or at least not one that we’ve yet decided as a global society to take. … Read more
Pathogenic bacteria are the burglars of the plant world. They break and enter and wreak havoc within a plant cell as they grab whatever they find useful – mostly delicious nutrients. Just like with real burglars, the key to stopping them is a proper door – unless the burglar have a way to pry it open.… Read more
Sometimes, adaption means avoiding trouble. Picking a favourable season to grow, a place with no herbivores or choosing a time when there is a surplus of eager pollinators. Sometimes, adaption means powering through all adversities while standing your ground. Today, we talk about the latter.
Alpine plants don‘t have it easy. Growth periods are short as temperatures quickly drop after summer and take a long time to recover at the end of winter. Some plants adapt by growing, flowering, setting and dispersing seeds within a brief period of time, so that they get everything done before winter is back.… Read more