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Analysis and Comment (9)

Plants use photosynthesis to build molecules and energy they can use. By copying plants, humans can make cleaner fuels. Ranjit Bhatnagar/Flickr

To shift away from fossil fuels, we need to copy plants

Most of the energy that fuels our lives comes from plants. Whether it is a fossil fuel that was formed hundreds of millions of years ago or the food we eat, all carbon-borne energy has its ultimate origins…
Canary grass is an invasive plant, but new varieties are still being developed for pasture. Stuart Hay

Feed or weed? New pastures are sowing problems for the future

Weeds cost Australian farmers around A$4 billion every year — and they are likely to do a similar amount of damage to the environment. In a new global survey published this week in Proceedings of the National…
Enjoy the color while you can before climate change makes a mess of this too. chensiyuan

Fall foliage in the crosshairs of climate change

One of nature’s most spectacular events occurs every autumn, when the leaves of hardwood trees burst into brilliant color before falling to the ground. These autumnal displays in the eastern United States…
A new study shows plants may absorb more carbon than we thought. Jason Samfield/Flickr

Plants absorb more CO2 than we thought, but …

Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures. But not all the CO2 released from burning coal, oil…
Diversity is the key. Agricultural Research Service

Protect a sixth of the land, save two thirds of species

The scene was typical for an international gathering of governments: bureaucrats, sat behind nameplates and speaking through interpreters. But the less than typical result of the votes cast at this 1992…
Actual botany is not like this. Rank Organisation/Allied Artists

The strange world of the carnivorous plant

Ever since their discovery, carnivorous plants have fascinated scientists and spurred the imagination of artists, writers and filmmakers. While the Puya chilensis cactus at the Royal Horticultural Society…
New research suggests that seeds could now be formed without the biological process of fertilisation. CIMMYT

Seeds without sex – some racy findings on the cloning of plants

Sex without seed. Seed without sex. It’s been said that the greatest gift of science to humankind would be achieving those two goals. Effective contraceptives such as the pill have pretty much nailed the…
“If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Research shows that plants spread news of trouble. Flickr/Peter Nijenhuls

Heard it on the grapevine: the mysterious chatter of plants

Sound and its use in communication have shaped the ecology, evolution, behaviour, and ultimately the success of many animal species. But are animals the only lifeforms to communicate with sound? Do plants…

Research and News (1)

Climate change linked to narrowing leaves

Climate change is causing the leaves of at least one subspecies of Australian plant to narrow in size, a team from the University…

Research Briefs (27)

Satellites used to measure photosynthesis

Satellite technology has been used to measure the light that plant leaves emit as a byproduct of photosynthesis. The satellite…

Pollinators and plants losing touch

The pollination networks between bees and flowers are not as robust as they were 100 years ago. Based on a comparative study…

Swamp plants their own masters

Plants in swamps and marshes have been observed actively altering their environment to increase their species’ chance of…

Corn seeds show sibling connection

By studying the fertilised seeds of corn, scientists from the University of Colarado Boulder have discovered a form of plant…

Plant-eating algae a hope for biofuel

Algae can get energy from other plants, researchers from Bielefeld University have found. Conventional wisdom held that plants…

Insects drive rapid plant evolution

Evolutionary change is occurring rapidly around us, every day, as insects impose natural selection pressures on plants. Using…