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The Week in Botany 172

October 19, 2020

It's an odd set of links this week. I use automatic tools to help keep track of the links the thousands of people following @botanyone on Twitter share. It would be a strange week, if there were no papers from Nature journals, but I wouldn't normally expect them to dominate the results as much as they have. Likewise, if there's not a blogpost in the top 10 links for the news section from In Defense of Plants, then there'd be one at 11 or 12 that just missed the cut - yet this week nothing, despite it being close to Hallowe'en and IDoP writing a story on Bat Plants.
What I think has happened is that tweeting, and retweeting, about the State of the World's Plants and Fungi symposium across the middle of the week made a hole in the algorithms. I'll find out if that's the problem when I compile the links for next week, when things should be more normal. Or at least normal for 2020. Until then take care.
Alun (

From Botany One

Temporal migration affects genetic diversity of biennial plant populations
How do differences in flowering time influence gene flow in populations of a biennial plant species?

State of the World’s Plant & Fungi Collections (Part One)
Plant and fungal collections are seeing new and innovative uses, as well as reaching a broader user-base as digitized specimens, but significant gaps remain.

State of the World’s Plant & Fungi Collections (Part Two)
Expanding the uses, the user-base, and the number of collections themselves will help safeguard the future of plant and fungal collections.

Aroid aerial roots answer new pressures with new morphology
Specialization for water retention came from a layer of cork on the roots’ exterior.

Root hairs offer benefit during drought without decreasing yield in good years
This makes them an ideal target for breeders looking to up resilience without bringing down productivity.

State of the World’s Plants and Fungi: Does conservation policy help or hinder scientific research?
Policies brought into protect plants could also cause harm by restricting research into habitats.

Your chance to give Botany a voice in a Fine Art project
The project aims to start making inferences about the importance of ecological features in historical art.

News and Views

Fifth of countries at risk of ecosystem collapse, analysis finds
Trillions of dollars of GDP depend on biodiversity, according to Swiss Re report
The Guardian

Plant Biology Journal Database
Science is shared and disseminated by many different means, but few have the impact of publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. It provides a level of credibility and potentially helps push the edge of knowledge further. However, the act of publishing may be a daunting task to some, starting with the question of which journal should I publish in? Which journal is the best fit for my research? With hundreds of journals out there, it can be hard to narrow it down. 
Plantae Community

The World’s Largest Tropical Wetland Has Become an Inferno
This year, roughly a quarter of the vast Pantanal wetland in Brazil, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, has burned in wildfires worsened by climate change. What happens to a rich and unique biome when so much is destroyed?
The New York Times

Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists
Restoring degraded natural lands highly effective for carbon storage and avoiding species extinctions
The Guardian

Tired of science being ignored? Get political
The idea that competent researchers are apolitical is false, and it costs lives.

Annual Exhibition Meeting
The 2020 BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting will take place on Saturday 21st November and in light of the restrictions around Covid-19, it will be entirely virtual, but you will still be able to enjoy a full programme of talks, exhibits and much more! The event will be hosted on a dedicated AEM micro-site and highlights will be posted afterwards on our new BSBI YouTube channel.
Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland

Greener play areas boost children’s immune systems, research finds
Autoimmune diseases are rising fast but first experimental study shows nature could help
The Guardian

How Many Plants Have We Wiped Out? Here Are 5 Extinction Stories
Botanists have laid out evidence that dozens of North American trees, herbs, plants and shrubs have gone extinct since European settlers arrived.
The New York Times

In 'a Huge Victory,' California’s Joshua Tree Becomes the First Plant Protected Due to Climate Change | Smart News
Experts say that climate change will decimate the population of Joshua trees, but California is taking action
Smithsonian Magazine

Georgina Mace (1953–2020)
Pioneer of biodiversity accounting who overhauled the Red List of threatened species.

Scientific Papers

Safe fieldwork strategies for at-risk individuals, their supervisors and institutions
As a result of identity prejudice, certain individuals are more vulnerable to conflict and violence when they are in the field. It is paramount that all fieldworkers be informed of the risks some colleagues may face, so that they can define best practice together: here we recommend strategies to minimize risk for all individuals conducting fieldwork.
Nature Ecology & Evolution

Large-scale genome sequencing of mycorrhizal fungi provides insights into the early evolution of symbiotic traits
Miyauchi et al. present a combined analysis of 135 fungal genomes from 73 saprotrophic, endophytic and pathogenic species, and 62 mycorrhizal species, including 29 new mycorrhizal genomes. This study samples ecologically dominant fungal guilds for which there were previously no symbiotic genomes available, including ectomycorrhizal Russulales, Thelephorales and Cantharellales. Their analyses show that transitions from saprotrophy to symbiosis involve (1) widespread losses of degrading enzymes acting on lignin and cellulose, (2) co-option of genes present in saprotrophic ancestors to fulfill new symbiotic functions, (3) diversification of novel, lineage-specific symbiosis-induced genes, (4) proliferation of transposable elements and (5) divergent genetic innovations underlying the convergent origins of the ectomycorrhizal guild.
Nature Communications

Empirical evidence for resilience of tropical forest photosynthesis in a warmer world
Predicting tropical forest function requires understanding the relative contributions of two mechanisms of high-temperature photosynthetic declines: stomatal limitation (H1), an indirect response due to temperature-associated changes in atmospheric vapour pressure deficit (VPD), and biochemical restrictions (H2), a direct temperature response. Their relative control predicts different outcomes—H1 is expected to diminish with stomatal responses to future co-occurring elevated atmospheric [CO2], whereas H2 portends declining photosynthesis with increasing temperatures. Distinguishing the two mechanisms at high temperatures is therefore critical, but difficult because VPD is highly correlated with temperature in natural settings. Smith et al. used a forest mesocosm to quantify the sensitivity of tropical gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) to future temperature regimes while constraining VPD by controlling humidity.
Nature Plants

Multiplying the efficiency and impact of biofortification through metabolic engineering
Ending all forms of hunger by 2030, as set forward in the UN-Sustainable Development Goal 2 (UN-SDG2), is a daunting but essential task, given the limited timeline ahead and the negative global health and socio-economic impact of hunger. Malnutrition or hidden hunger due to micronutrient deficiencies affects about one third of the world population and severely jeopardizes economic development. Staple crop biofortification through gene stacking, using a rational combination of conventional breeding and metabolic engineering strategies, should enable a leap forward within the coming decade. A number of specific actions and policy interventions are proposed to reach this goal.
Nature Communications

Parallel global profiling of plant TOR dynamics reveals a conserved role for LARP1 in translation
TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) is a protein kinase that coordinates eukaryotic metabolism. In mammals, TOR specifically promotes translation of ribosomal protein mRNAs when amino acids are available to support protein synthesis. The mechanisms controlling translation downstream from TOR remain contested, however, and are largely unexplored in plants. To define these mechanisms in plants, we globally profiled the plant TOR-regulated transcriptome, translatome, proteome, and phosphoproteome. Scarpin et al. found that TOR regulates ribosome biogenesis in plants at multiple levels, but through mechanisms that do not directly depend on 5′ oligopyrimidine tract motifs (5′TOPs) found in mammalian ribosomal protein mRNAs.

A bacterial endophyte exploits chemotropism of a fungal pathogen for plant colonization
Soil-inhabiting fungal pathogens use chemical signals released by roots to direct hyphal growth towards the host plant. Whether other soil microorganisms exploit this capacity for their own benefit is currently unknown. Palmieri et al. show that the endophytic rhizobacterium Rahnella aquatilis locates hyphae of the root-infecting fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum through pH-mediated chemotaxis and uses them as highways to efficiently access and colonize plant roots.
Nature Communications

Frontiers | Insights Into the Regulation of the Expression Pattern of Calvin-Benson-Bassham Cycle Enzymes in C3 and C4 Grasses
C4 photosynthesis is characterized by the compartmentalization of the processes of atmospheric uptake of CO2 and its conversion into carbohydrate between mesophyll and bundle-sheath cells. As a result, most of the enzymes participating in the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle, including RubisCO, are highly expressed in bundle-sheath cells. There is evidence that changes in the regulatory sequences of RubisCO contribute to its bundle-sheath-specific expression, however, little is known about how the spatial-expression pattern of other CBB cycle enzymes is regulated. Afamefule and Raines use a computational approach to scan for transcription factor binding sites in the regulatory regions of the genes encoding CBB cycle enzymes, SBPase, FBPase, PRK, and GAPDH-B, of C3 and C4 grasses. They identified potential cis-regulatory elements present in each of the genes studied here, regardless of the photosynthetic path used by the plant. The trans-acting factors that bind these elements have been validated in A. thaliana and might regulate the expression of the genes encoding CBB cycle enzymes.
Plant Science

The response of carbon assimilation and storage to long‐term drought in tropical trees is dependent on light availability
Whether tropical trees acclimate to long‐term drought stress remains unclear. This uncertainty is amplified if drought stress is accompanied by changes in other drivers such as the increases in canopy light exposure that might be induced by tree mortality or other disturbances. Rowland et al's results suggest that long‐term responses to drought stress are strongly influenced by a tree's full‐canopy light environment and therefore that disturbance‐induced changes in stand density and dynamics are likely to substantially impact tropical forest responses to climate change.
Functional Ecology

Eight problems with literature reviews and how to fix them
Haddaway et al. aim to identify major pitfalls in the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews, making use of recent examples from across the field. Adopting a ‘critical friend’ role in supporting would-be systematic reviews and avoiding individual responses to police use of the ‘systematic review’ label, they go on to identify methodological solutions to mitigate these pitfalls.
Nature Ecology & Evolution


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