House plants were our link with nature in lockdown – now they could change how we relate to the natural world

House plants enrich our domestic lives in ways we often fail to notice. But lockdown may have changed all that.

Giulia Carabelli, Lecturer in Sociology, Queen's University Belfast • conversation
Oct. 19, 2020 ~7 min

nature plants lockdown home interior-design botanical indoor-ecology

Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead bodies, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

 evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead people, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

 evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

When plants and their microbes are not in sync, the results can be disastrous

Just as humans can suffer from an imbalance of microbes in their gut, plants can suffer a similar syndrome in their leaves. This finding opens up new possibilities for improving food security.

Sheng-Yang He, University Distinguished Professor, HHMI Investigator, Michigan State University • conversation
Aug. 28, 2020 ~8 min

 agriculture  plants  microbiome  ecosystem  crops  microbiota  arabidopsis

Oleandrin is a deadly plant poison, not a COVID-19 cure

Consuming the plant can be lethal to animals and humans.

Cassandra Quave, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Human Health; Herbarium Curator, Emory University • conversation
Aug. 18, 2020 ~3 min

covid-19 coronavirus pandemic plants fda medicinal-plants

Duckweed is an incredible, radiation-fighting astronaut food – and by changing how it is grown, we made it better

Duckweed is the perfect space food: small, fast-growing and nutritious. By studying how light levels changed the production of radiation-fighting antioxidants, researchers made it even better.

Barbara Demmig-Adams, Professor of Plant Ecology and Molecular Biology, University of Colorado Boulder • conversation
July 14, 2020 ~6 min

space food nasa plants nutrition light farming antioxidants radiation micronutrients

How to manage plant pests and diseases in your victory garden

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted interest in home gardening. Three scientists who garden explain some basic methods for controlling common insects and microbes that can spoil your crop.

Carolee Bull, Professor of Plant Pathology and Systematic Bacteriology, Pennsylvania State University • conversation
July 2, 2020 ~9 min

bacteria covid-19 insects soil plants fungi viruses integrated-pest-management gardening nematodes weeds land-grant-universities plant-health victory-garden

Crop pathogens are more adaptable than previously thought

Fungi and other organisms called oomycetes are highly adaptable. That's bad news for the global food supply.

Antonis Rokas, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences, Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Informatics, and Director of the Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative, Vanderbilt University • conversation
June 23, 2020 ~5 min

evolution climate-change yeast plants fungi crops food-security plant-pathogen

Glacier mice: these herds of moss-balls roam the ice – and we’re uncovering their mysteries

Glacier mice aren't rodents – they're mysterious balls of moss that manage to live in one of the world's harshest environments.

Stephen Coulson, Project Manager, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences • conversation
June 8, 2020 ~6 min

plants ice glaciers mosses polar-ecology

Moths do the pollinator night shift – and they work harder than daytime insects

New research sheds light on the unsung heroes of pollination.

Richard Elton Walton, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Biology, Newcastle University • conversation
May 19, 2020 ~6 min

insects plants pollinators pollination ponds moths nocturnal

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