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The Week in Botany 152

June 1, 2020

When I gather the links shared by people following @botanyone on Twitter, I throw out the political links. I think scientists taking part in politics is a good idea, but there are better places than here to go for political analysis. I also know some people want a break from politics. This week it's more obvious than usual that being able to step back and concentrate on good news is a privilege that too many people don't have.
As long as the only thing I have to complain about is hayfever, then there'll be another email next week. Until then, take care.
Alun (

From Botany One

Sulphur deficiency leads to delayed senescence in barley
Deficiency led to reduction of proteases and nitrogen mobilization in senescing leaves.

Interspecific hybridization between Camelina sativa and C. microcarpa
Work continues trying to boost Camelina's value as an oilseed crop.

Aspen, they grow up so… weirdly.
Aspen possesses enormous levels of genotype-based intraspecific variation.

Koalas up a gum tree, but having the last laugh..?
Koalas break the local stereotype by being Australians who don't drink. Or so it was thought.

The tale (or phenology) of two wild blueberries in Canada
Do you like eating big blueberries? The little berries are not only packed with anthocyanins but you might have actually eaten different species of blueberries without noticing.

How a conifer spread between isolated mountain-tops: the demographic history of Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus
Were there land-bridges in the past that enabled trees to travel from mountaintop to mountaintop?

Plant-mSubP: a machine learning tool to predict single- and multi-target protein subcellular localisationSahu et al. present their new software, Plant-mSubP, which is a publicly available web platform that uses machine learning to predict the subcellular localisation of proteins based on amino acid sequence features. 

Tricky flowers: how floral variation in a food-deceptive orchid is maintained over generations
Sometimes it's a good idea not to send a consistent message to your pollinators.

Life in the canopy is different : How genetics impacts variation in herbivory on oak trees
Trees may invest more in protecting their canopy leaves from munching insects than their other leaves.

News and Views

Australia's severe bushfire season was predicted and will be repeated, inquiry told
Forecasts that turned out to be accurate were made available to governments and fire agencies in the middle of 2019
The Guardian

Plantae Presents: Dolf Weijers and Dana MacGregor
This is the 9th seminar in the series.

Botany 2020 - Virtual!
Registration is open for Botany 2020.
Botany 2020

Apply - PostDoc
The Koski Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University seeks a postdoctoral researcher to study local adaptation in floral thermoregulatory mechanisms on an altitudinal gradient.
Clemson SC, US

Courses for Ecology Students
Learn stats with R for ecologists outline intro.

Director of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium
Successful candidate will contribute to scholarship in the department and in interdisciplinary programs, lead a vigorous research program in plant evolutionary biology, conduct research, education and outreach including providing a vision for the new directions for collections.
Wyoming, US

Kate Crooks and the Botanical Society of Canada: How BHL Helped Uncover the Work of a Long-lost Female Botanist
“I asked myself, ‘How come I’ve never heard of Kate Crooks?’,” recalls Soper. “She lived and worked in Ontario in the same era as Catharine Parr Traill—arguably Canada’s most prominent nineteenth-century naturalist."
Biodiversity Heritage Library

PhD position in functional analysis of spinach downy mildew effectors (1.0 FTE)
We are looking for an enthusiastic molecular biologist, interested in plants and plant diseases who would like to perform cutting-edge fundamental research on downy mildews, an agriculturally important group of pathogens.
Utrecht, NL

Large heath butterflies return to Manchester after 150 years
Lancashire Wildlife Trust has brought the species back to peatlands following a local extinction in the 19th century
The Guardian

Land-use, biodiversity and zoonotic diseases
"Public awareness and perception of zoonoses has dramatically increased in the last few months due to COVID-19. We invited Drs. Christian Imholt and Anna Obiegala, expert disease ecologists, to explain their perspectives on the emergence of zoonotic diseases in the context of human interference and habitat disturbance."
Functional Ecologists

Scientific Papers


RALF1-FERONIA complex affects splicing dynamics to modulate stress responses and growth in plants
Wang et al. found that the interaction of the extracellular rapid alkalinization FACTOR 1 (RALF1) peptide with its receptor FERONIA (FER) triggered a rapid and massive RNA AS response by interacting with and phosphorylating glycine-rich RNA binding protein7 (GRP7) to elevate GRP7 nuclear accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana. FER-dependent GRP7 phosphorylation enhanced its mRNA binding ability and its association with the spliceosome component U1-70K to enable splice site selection, modulating dynamic AS. Genetic reversal of a RALF1-FER–dependent splicing target partly rescued mutants deficient in GRP7. AS of GRP7 itself induced nonsense-mediated decay feedback to the RALF1-FER-GRP7 module, fine-tuning stress responses, and cell growth.
Science Advances

Functions of Anionic Lipids in Plants
Using the localization of each anionic lipid and its related metabolic enzymes as starting points, Noack and Jallais summarize their roles within the different compartments of the endomembrane system and address their associated developmental and physiological consequences.
Annual Review of Plant Biology

Soil fungal networks maintain local dominance of ectomycorrhizal trees
Liang et al. show that tree seedlings that interact via root-associated fungal hyphae with soils beneath neighbouring adult trees grow faster and have greater survival than seedlings that are isolated from external fungal mycelia, but these effects are observed for species possessing ectomycorrhizas (ECM) and not arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Moreover, survival of naturally-regenerating AM seedlings over ten years is negatively related to the density of surrounding conspecific plants, while survival of ECM tree seedlings displays positive density dependence over this interval, and AM seedling roots contain greater abundance of pathogenic fungi than roots of ECM seedlings.
Nature Communications

Convergent molecular evolution among ash species resistant to the emerald ash borer
Recent studies show that molecular convergence plays an unexpectedly common role in the evolution of convergent phenotypes. Kelly et al. exploited this phenomenon to find candidate loci underlying resistance to the emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis), the United States’ most costly invasive forest insect to date, within the pan-genome of ash trees (the genus Fraxinus). They show that EAB-resistant taxa occur within three independent phylogenetic lineages.
Nature Ecology & Evolution

Auxin export from proximal fruits drives arrest in temporally competent inflorescences
Ware et al. provide a framework for the communication previously inferred in the global proliferative arrest model. They show that the end-of-flowering in Arabidopsis is not ‘global’ and does not occur synchronously between branches, but rather that the arrest of each inflorescence is a local process, driven by auxin export from fruit proximal to the inflorescence apex. Furthermore, they show that inflorescences are competent for arrest only once they reach a certain developmental age.
Nature Plants

Pervasive shifts in forest dynamics in a changing world
McDowell et al. review recent progress in understanding the drivers of forest dynamics and how these are interacting and changing in the context of global climate change. The authors show that shifts in forest dynamics are already occurring, and the emerging pattern is that global forests are tending toward younger stands with faster turnover as old-growth forest with stable dynamics are dwindling.

Selaginella was hyperdiverse already in the Cretaceous
"Selaginella is notorious for the small morphological differences seen among many species," say Schmidt et al. but they find that it's not a new trait for the genus.
New Phytologist

Loss of function of the Pad-1 aminotransferase gene, which is involved in auxin homeostasis, induces parthenocarpy in Solanaceae plants
Matsuo et al. report a parthenocarpic eggplant mutant, pad-1, which accumulates high levels of auxin in the ovaries. Map-based cloning showed that the wild-type (WT) Pad-1 gene encoded an aminotransferase with similarity to Arabidopsis VAS1 gene, which is involved in auxin homeostasis. Recombinant Pad-1 protein catalyzed the conversion of indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPyA) to tryptophan (Trp), which is a reverse reaction of auxin biosynthetic enzymes, tryptophan aminotransferases (TAA1/TARs). The RNA level of Pad-1 gene increased during ovary development and reached its highest level at anthesis stage in WT. This suggests that the role of Pad-1 in WT unpollinated ovary is to prevent overaccumulation of IAA resulting in precocious fruit-set.

Management performance mapping and the value of information for regional prioritization of management interventions
Policymakers and donors often need to identify the locations and settings where technologies are most likely to have important effects, to increase the benefits from agricultural development or extension efforts. Higher quality information may help to target the high-payoff locations. The value of information (VOI) in this context is formalized by evaluating the results of decision making guided by a set of information compared to the results of acting without taking the information into account. Buddenhagen et al. present a framework for management performance mapping that includes evaluating the VOI for decision making about geographic priorities in regional intervention strategies, in case studies of Andean and Kenyan potato seed systems.

A multidimensional framework for measuring biotic novelty: How novel is a community?
Schittko et al. propose the Biotic Novelty Index (BNI), an intuitive and flexible multidimensional measure that combines (a) functional differences between native and non‐native introduced species with (b) temporal dynamics of species introductions. They show that the BNI is an additive partition of Rao's quadratic entropy, capturing the novel interaction component of the community's functional diversity. Simulations show that the index varies predictably with the relative amount of functional novelty added by recently arrived species, and they illustrate the need to provide an additional standardized version of the index.
Global Change Biology


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