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Latest American Journal of Botany Stories

Extracting Plant DNA From Grasshopper Guts Improves Understanding Of Plant-insect Interactions
2014-02-06 14:12:58

[ Watch the Video: Demonstration of Grasshopper Dissection ] American Journal of Botany Grasshoppers may be small, but the damages they are causing to the US agriculture industry are anything but. Every year, they feed on crops and on rangelands needed for raising livestock, costing landowners millions of dollars. Although they pose a major threat, grasshopper populations play a positive role in cycling nutrients from decomposing plant matter back into the soil. A new method to...

How Does A South American Tree Adapt To Volcanic Soils?
2014-01-24 15:50:12

American Journal of Botany Low soil nitrogen, not soil phosphorus levels, stimulate cluster root adaptation in the Proteaceae, Embothrium coccineum, a tree that may be key to reforestation in Patagonia Soils of southern South America, including Patagonia, have endured a high frequency of disturbances from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, and erosion. In addition, massive fires in the mid-20th century were set to forests in the region in an effort to promote colonization. In...

Nondestructive Visualization Techniques Used To Image Ancient Fossils
2013-11-11 12:19:33

[ Watch the Video: Animation of Serial Transverse Section of Pinus pinea Cone ] American Journal of Botany New study integrates visualization techniques to examine 150-million-year-old plant fossils without damaging specimens By integrating high-resolution X-ray imaging (termed microCT), 3D image segmentation, and computer animation, a new study conducted by Carole Gee at the University of Bonn, Germany, demonstrates the visualization of fossils without destroying the material....

Studying Plant And Cell Growth In Space
2013-09-12 12:32:17

American Journal of Botany At work on the International Space Station, researchers studying plant and cell growth in space encountered a challenge. Imaging revealed interesting spaceflight-associated root morphologies. They needed to fix the tissues for further study back on Earth, but conventional fixation methods require separate fixatives depending on whether the sample is intended for molecular or morphological study. If the scientists wanted to study how spaceflight affected patterns...

Flower's Nectar Content Changed By Ants
2013-04-25 13:55:58

American Journal of Botany Ants foraging on nectar transmit yeasts that change sugar-chemistry and may affect subsequent pollinator visitations and plant fitness Ants play a variety of important roles in many ecosystems. As frequent visitors to flowers, they can benefit plants in their role as pollinators when they forage on sugar-rich nectar. However, a new study reveals that this mutualistic relationship may actually have some hidden costs. By transmitting sugar-eating yeasts to the...

Taxonomists Beware: The Flowers Might Just Be Fooling Us
2013-03-04 09:54:52

American Journal of Botany Floral morphologies may be less reliable than other traits in determining the relationships of papilionoid species and genera For hundreds of years, plant taxonomists have worked to understand how species are related. Until relatively recently, their only reliable source of information about these relationships was the plants' morphology–traits that could be observed, measured, counted, categorized, and described visually. And paramount among these...

A New Look At How Plants Sense Gravity
2013-02-04 16:31:22

American Journal of Botany Gravity affects the ecology and evolution of every living organism. In plants, the general response to gravity is well known: their roots respond positively, growing down, into the soil, and their stems respond negatively, growing upward, to reach the sunlight. But how do plants sense gravity and how do they direct or signal their cells to grow in response to it? Although botanists understand a great deal about how this works, a recent article in the recent issue...

Is The Key To Immortality Held by Palm Trees
2012-12-19 14:01:56

American Journal of Botany Recent review reveals unique cellular structure and function that may contribute to their long life-span For centuries, humans have been exploring, researching, and, in some cases, discovering how to stave off life-threatening diseases, increase life spans, and obtain immortality. Biologists, doctors, spiritual gurus, and even explorers have pursued these quests–one of the most well-known examples being the legendary search by Ponce de León...

2012-08-21 01:29:49

Botany is plagued by the same problem as the rest of science and society: our ability to generate data quickly and cheaply is surpassing our ability to access and analyze it. In this age of big data, scientists facing too much information rely on computers to search large data sets for patterns that are beyond the capability of humans to recognize–but computers can only interpret data based on the strict set of rules in their programming. New tools called ontologies provide the rules...

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2011-07-31 07:26:40

Invasive tree afflicting Gulf Coast was not brought to US by Ben Franklin The DNA evidence is in, and Ben Franklin didn't do it. Genetic tests on more than 1,000 Chinese tallow trees from the United States and China show the famed U.S. statesman did not import the tallow trees that are overrunning thousands of acres of U.S. coastal prairie from Florida to East Texas. "It's widely known that Franklin introduced tallow trees to the U.S. in the late 1700s," said Rice University biologist Evan...