ScienceDaily Botany News
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A pitcher plant's work seems simple: Their tube-shaped leaves catch and hold rainwater, which drowns the ants, beetles, and flies that stumble in. But the rainwater inside a pitcher plant is not just a malevolent dunking pool. It also hosts a complex system of aquatic life, including wriggling mosquito, flesh fly, and midge larvae; mites; rotifers; copepods; nematodes; and multicellular algae.
New research shows that perhaps the ancient Puebloans weren't as into the maize craze as once thought. Nikki Berkebile has been studying the subsistence habits of Puebloans, or Anasazi, who lived on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon in the late 11th century. Traditional ethnographic literature indicates these ancient American Indians were heavily dependent on maize as a food source, but Berkebile isn't so sure about that.
Beekeepers and researchers nationally are reporting growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides may be killing off bumblebees. Now, research points toward another potential cause: metal pollution from aluminum and nickel. A new study finds that bumblebees are at risk of ingesting toxic amounts of metals like aluminum and nickel found in flowers growing in soil that has been contaminated by exhaust from vehicles, industrial machinery, and farming equipment.
Tiny sea creatures no bigger than a thumbtack are being credited for playing a key role in helping provide healthy habitats for many kinds of seafood, according to a new study. The little crustacean "grazers," some resembling tiny shrimp, are critical in protecting seagrasses from overgrowth by algae, helping keep these aquatic havens healthy for native and economically important species. Crustaceans are tiny to very large shelled animals that include crab, shrimp, and lobster.
Increases in ground-level ozone, especially in rural areas, may interfere not only with predator insects finding host plants, but also with pollinators finding flowers, according to new research.
The mountainous regions of Central Asia are particularly rich in the onion genus Allium. Kyrgyzstan has a great plant diversity, with nearly 3800 native vascular plants, including 85 onion species. Among them is a tiny group of minute species that had gone unnoticed for 100 years of botanical studies in the region but was recently discovered in the Sary-Chelek Nature Reserve.
Geckos' ability to stick to trees and leaves during rainforest downpours has fascinated scientists for decades, leading a group of researchers to solve the mystery.
New research predicts that rising temperatures will lead to a massive "greening," or increase in plant cover, in the Arctic. In a new paper, scientists reveal new models projecting that wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 50 percent over the next few decades. The researchers also show that this dramatic greening will accelerate climate warming at a rate greater than previously expected.
Recently, plant geneticists have successfully isolated the gene that creates dwarfed varieties of pearl millet. It is the first time a gene controlling an important agronomic trait has been isolated in the pearl millet genome.
Using the tools of synthetic biology, researchers are engineering healthy plants whose lignocellulosic biomass can more easily be broken down into simple sugars for the production of clean, green and renewable advanced biofuels.
Plant scientists have identified a lettuce gene and related enzyme that put the brakes on germination during hot weather -- a discovery that could lead to lettuces that can sprout year-round, even at high temperatures.
Concrete plans for a one-way ticket to Mars have been forged. Food will have to be grown on location. Is this a distant future scenario? Not for scientists researching whether or not it is possible to grow plants on the moon.
The genome of the mountain pine beetle -- the insect that has devastated British Columbia's lodgepole pine forests -- has now been decoded.
In the United States, only species listed on state or federal noxious weed lists are regulated, and those lists are often biased toward species that affect agricultural crops. Conversely, invasive plant council lists include species that affect natural landscapes but have no regulatory clout. After comparing the lists and how they are created, researchers have developed some suggestions on how to improve the regulation of all invasive plant species, including new biofuels plants.
Novel way plants pass traits to next generation: Inheritance behavior in corn breaks accepted rules of genetics
New research explains how certain traits can pass down from one generation to the next – at least in plants – without following the accepted rules of genetics.
It can take years of direct observation for a researcher to fully understand the diets of a community of herbivorous insects in a tropical rain forest. Now, scientists are paving a fast track using the DNA found inside the insects' stomachs, potentially turning years of research into months. This method will help scientists understand the ecology and evolution of plant-herbivore interactions more efficiently.
Rapidly growing trees like poplars and willows are candidate "biofuel crops" from which it is expected that cellulosic ethanol and higher energy content fuels can be efficiently extracted. Domesticating these crops requires a deep understanding of tree physiology and genetics. Scientists are turning to fruit trees for hints, leading to an international initiative, publishing the 265-million base genome of the Lovell variety of Prunus persica.
The notion that each gene can only codify for a single protein has been challenged for some years. Yet, the functional outcomes that may result from genes encoding more than one protein are still largely unknown. Now, botanists have discovered a gene -- ZIFL1 -- that produces two different proteins with completely distinct locations and functions in the plant.
Dinoflagellate microalgae could be used as a raw material to obtain biodiesel easily and profitably.
Rendering some of the world’s toxic soils far less unfriendly, researchers are learning to grow stress-tolerant crops on formerly non-farmable land.