A plant buried over 140 years ago surprises modern botanists and other stories

An experiment that’s been running for over 140 years has thrown up a surprise and some botanists helping create habitats for injured birds were among the stories we shared yesterday.

Criminals to plant 4,000 trees in London this winter as Government seeks to ease pressure on prisons

Offenders who receive short sentences after being convicted of crimes such as drink driving and shoplifting are planting trees instead of serving time in prison,

Discovery inside unearthed bottle would’ve shocked Michigander who buried it in 1879

In 1879, botanist William J. Beal filled 20 bottles with soil and seeds and buried them on what is now MSU’s campus grounds. In April 2021, the 16th bottle was unearthed, and its seeds were planted. Now, MSU scientists have discovered not all the seeds were quite what they seemed to be.

Delaware Botanical Garden donates plant waste to help injured birds

Mt. Cuba botanical garden sends its plant waste to help build habitats for injured birds at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research.

Why scientists are making transparent wood

Stronger than plastic and tougher than glass, the resin-filled material is being exploited for smartphone screens, insulated windows and more.

Yellow pōhutukawa blossoming across Northland

It is the classic Kiwi Christmas image, beach, barbecue and the bright red blooms of the pōhutukawa. However, yellow or “golden” pōhutukawa are popping up across Northland in a bright show that has captured the attention of eagle-eyed locals.

Why this year’s quiet U.S. wildfire season could be one of our last

This year transported the West to summers of the past: Pleasant temperatures and clear air allowed for regular walks and hikes in the sunshine. In this part of North America, at least, choking smoke and the buzz of firefighting aircraft, unnerving hallmarks of so many recent wildfire seasons, largely relented.


Inherit the wind: evolution of reproductive traits in Cyperaceae ($)

Studies about reproductive aspects of angiosperms rarely refer to herbaceous and anemophilous groups. Cyperaceae are cosmopolitan and diverse in terms of sexuality, inflorescence architecture, and pollination modes, such as anemophily, entomophily, and ambophily. Therefore, the evolution of reproductive traits can clarify some questions about the reproductive biology of angiosperms, especially regarding the transitions between biotic and abiotic pollination. This study was designed to investigate the evolution of reproductive traits in Cyperaceae through comparative phylogenetic methods, such as reconstruction of ancestral states and evolutionary correlation

Systematic identification and characterization of genes in the regulation and biogenesis of photosynthetic machinery (OA)

Photosynthesis is central to food production and the Earth’s biogeochemistry, yet the molecular basis for its regulation remains poorly understood. Using high-throughput genetics in the model eukaryotic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Kafri et al. identify with high confidence (false discovery rate [FDR] < 0.11) 70 poorly characterized genes required for photosynthesis. They then enable the functional characterization of these genes by providing a resource of proteomes of mutant strains, each lacking one of these genes.

Predicting spring phenology in deciduous broadleaf forests: NEON phenology forecasting community challenge (OA)

Accurate models are important to predict how global climate change will continue to alter plant phenology and near-term ecological forecasts can be used to iteratively improve models and evaluate predictions that are made a priori. The Ecological Forecasting Initiative’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Forecasting Challenge, is an open challenge to the community to forecast daily greenness values, measured through digital images collected by the PhenoCam Network at NEON sites before the data are collected. For the first round of the challenge, which is presented here, Wheeler et al. forecasted canopy greenness throughout the spring at eight deciduous broadleaf sites to investigate when, where, and for what model-type phenology forecast skill is highest. A total of 192,536 predictions were submitted, representing eighteen models, including a persistence and a day of year mean null models.

A GH81-type β-glucan-binding protein enhances colonization by mutualistic fungi in barley

To characterize host components involved in immunity against fungi, Wanke et al. performed a protein pull-down with the biotinylated β-glucan laminarin. Thereby, they identified a plant glycoside hydrolase family 81-type glucan-binding protein (GBP) as a β-glucan interactor. Mutation of GBP1 and its only paralog, GBP2, in barley led to decreased colonization by the beneficial root endophytes Serendipita indica and S. vermifera, as well as the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregulars.

Genetic diversity assessment of a plant for forest restoration on the Korean Peninsula: A case study of Lespedeza cuneata G. Don (Fabaceae) (OA)

Given the challenges posed by climate change, ecological restoration is crucial for conserving biodiversity and improving environmental resilience. Ecological restoration aims to maintain and restore plant populations with high evolutionary capacity and facilitate beneficial genotype dispersion to adapt to environmental pressures. However, genetic diversity has been overlooked in restoration research. This study evaluated the genetic diversity of Lespedeza cuneata G. Don, a species targeted for restoration on the Korean Peninsula. Lespedeza cuneata is widely distributed in the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.

Young mixed planted forests store more carbon than monocultures—a meta-analysis

Although decades of research suggest that higher species richness improves ecosystem functioning and stability, planted forests are predominantly monocultures. To determine whether diversification of plantations would enhance aboveground carbon storage, Warner et al. systematically reviewed over 11,360 publications, and acquired data from a global network of tree diversity experiments. They compiled a maximum dataset of 79 monoculture to mixed comparisons from 21 sites with all variables needed for a meta-analysis.


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