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Plant Science Papers: Elsevier's Most Downloaded 2011

Plant Science Papers: Elsevier's Most Downloaded 2011 | AnnBot | Scoop.it

The top five plant science papers downloaded from Elsevier's journals in 2011:

 

Reactive oxygen species and antioxidant machinery in abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
Gill, S.S.; Tuteja, N.


2 Protein kinase signaling networks in plant innate immunity
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Tena, G.; Boudsocq, M.; Sheen, J.

 

3 Regulation of flowering in rice: two florigen genes, a complex gene network, and natural variation
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Tsuji, H.; Taoka, K.i.; Shimamoto, K.

 

4 Long non-coding RNAs and chromatin regulation
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
De Lucia, F.; Dean, C.

 

5 Epigenetic contribution to stress adaptation in plants
Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Mirouze, M.; Paszkowski, J.

 

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CI + Botswana Convene First-ever Summit for Sustainability in Africa | Conservation International Blog

CI + Botswana Convene First-ever Summit for Sustainability in Africa | Conservation International Blog | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Top African officials and global business leaders will discuss incorporating nature into Africa's economic development. The continent is currently home to a billion people, most of whom are directly dependent on local ecosystems for their survival. Yet as global demand for food, water and energy continue to surge, much of the pressure to provide these resources rests on Africa, which holds more than half of the planet’s available arable land.

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FAO Statistical Yearbook 2012: all you ever wanted to know about world crop yields and tonnages

FAO Statistical Yearbook 2012: all you ever wanted to know about world crop yields and tonnages | AnnBot | Scoop.it

"The 2012 edition of the FAO Statistical Yearbook presents a visual synthesis of the major trends and factors shaping the global food and agricultural landscape and their interplay with broader environmental, social and economic dimensions.

 

In doing so, it strives to serve as a unique reference point on the state of world food and agriculture for policy-makers, donor agencies, researchers and analysts as well as the general public.

 

The book is subdivided into four thematic parts:

 

The setting measures the state of the agricultural resource base, by assessing the supply of land, labour, capital, inputs and the state of infrastructure, and also examines the pressure on the world food system stemming from demographic and macroeconomic change

 

Hunger dimensions gauges the state of food insecurity and malnutrition, measuring the multitude of dimensions that give rise to and shape undernourishment

 

Feeding the world evaluates the past and present capacity of world agricultural production and the role of trade in meeting changing food, feed and other demands

 

Sustainability dimensions examines the sustainability of agriculture in the context of the pressure it exerts on the environment including the interaction of agriculture with climate change, and how it can provide ecosystem services in relation to the bio-based economy"

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Fishing Lake Hawassa, Ethiopia: Rift Valley lakes and catching Tilapia and Catfish

Fishing boats on the side of Lake Hawassa, Awassa in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Opening with a view of lake from a park next to the shoreline where fish is landed, the film shows the landing, folding of nets, gutting and preparing of hte fish.

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First Drug from GM Plant Approved

First Drug from GM Plant Approved | AnnBot | Scoop.it

This week (May 1), the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for humans produced by a genetically modified plant. Made by Israeli biotech Protalix Biotherapeutics and licensed in the US by Pfizer, Elelyso is an enzyme replacement therapy for Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder in which individuals do not produce enough of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase, resulting in the buildup of fatty materials in the spleen, liver, and other organs.

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Jeremy Cherfas's comment, May 4, 2012 1:36 PM
Wonder why "how plants process proteins" is a bigger stumbling block than "how prokaryotes process proteins"?
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Theobrominated: Is biology zoonormative?

Theobrominated: Is biology zoonormative? | AnnBot | Scoop.it

A geneticist colleague once told me a story about hiking with another biologist. The forest was quiet and still, from the emergent podocarps and the tawa canopy right down to the ferns and mosses on the forest floor (sadly often the case in New Zealand forest since introduced mammals ate most of our native birds). The other biologist's reaction to this was to say, "It's so quiet; there's nothing alive here!" To what extent is our thinking and teaching in biology zoonormative?

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Sperm racing: the tortoise and the hare

Sperm racing: the tortoise and the hare | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Once they conquered the land, the earliest land plants (the bryophytes) were like the amphibians: they can live on dry land, but they need water for mating. The seed plants acquired a kind of internal fertilization, because they use pollen grains to deliver their sperms right to the stigma or the ovule, where a pollen tube can take it the last few millimetres to the egg. In this, the seed plants resemble the mammals. However, this is an analogy. These plants are doing similar things to the animals for similar reasons, but in completely different ways.

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IWMI : CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems - Overview

IWMI : CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems - Overview | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Worldwide research initiative launched to tackle global crises in water, food and the environment

 

An ambitious new research program, launched by the world’s largest consortium of international agricultural researchers, aims to address some of the world’s most pressing problems related to boosting food production and improving livelihoods, whilst simultaneously protecting the environment.The program focuses on the three critical issues of water scarcity, land degradation and ecosystem services, as well as the CGIAR System Level Outcome of sustainable natural resource management. It will also make substantial contributions to the System Level Outcomes on food security, poverty alleviation and, to a minor extent, health and nutrition.

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People and the planet report | Royal Society

People and the planet report | Royal Society | AnnBot | Scoop.it

There are two important pieces of 'grey literature' today: the first, from the Royal Society, is a report on how global population and consumption are linked, and the implications for a finite planet.

 

The report, lead by Sir John Sulston, emphasizes the problem of unsustainable consumption in industrialized countries and unsustainable population growth in developing countries, with many obvious cross-overs as the poor increase their consumption (not least of meat), and consumption converts to environmental degradation in the developed world.

 

With very clear writing and message, as would be expected from the Royal Societ, there is little point in my paraphrasing the succint report summary here, so hence I am quoting the summary in full:

 

"Rapid and widespread changes in the world’s human population, coupled with unprecedented levels of consumption present profound challenges to human health and wellbeing, and the natural environment. This report gives an overview of how global population and consumption are linked, and the implications for a finite planet.

Working Group chair Sir John Sulston FRS, Chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics & Innovation, University of Manchester.
Key recommendations

Key recommendations include:

The international community must bring the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day out of absolute poverty, and reduce the inequality that persists in the world today. This will require focused efforts in key policy areas including economic development, education, family planning and health.


The most developed and the emerging economies must stabilise and then reduce material consumption levels through: dramatic improvements in resource use efficiency, including: reducing waste; investment in sustainable resources, technologies and infrastructures; and systematically decoupling economic activity from environmental impact.


Reproductive health and voluntary family planning programmes urgently require political leadership and financial commitment, both nationally and internationally. This is needed to continue the downward trajectory of fertility rates, especially in countries where the unmet need for contraception is high.


Population and the environment should not be considered as two separate issues. Demographic changes, and the influences on them, should be factored into economic and environmental debate and planning at international meetings, such as the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and subsequent meetings.


Other recommendations made in the report focus on:

the potential for urbanisation to reduce material consumption
removing barriers to achieve high-quality primary and secondary education for all
undertaking more research into the interactions between consumption, demographic change and environmental impact
implementing comprehensive wealth measures
developing new socio-economic systems.

 

 

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Can we count animal extinctions?

Can we count animal extinctions? | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago a convention on biodiversity was agreed at the Rio Earth Summit - but do we know how many species are becoming extinct?

It is possible to count the number of species known to be extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) does just that. It has listed 801 animal and plant species (mostly animal) known to have gone extinct since 1500.

But if it's really true that up to 150 species are being lost every day, shouldn't we expect to be able to name more than 801 extinct species in 512 years?

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Plant & Crop Science Blog: How to create resilient agriculture

Plant & Crop Science Blog: How to create resilient agriculture | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Economic growth with resilience to environmental threats will be central to the agenda of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June this year, which aims to map out a pathway of sustainable development for the planet.
The 'zero draft', the document that will form the basis of conference negotiations, states a resolve to fight hunger, eradicate poverty and work towards just and economically stable societies.
Food security is critical to this mission. The threats are numerous: repeated food price spikes; shortages of good-quality land and water; rising energy and fertiliser prices; and the consequences of climate change.
Already, somewhere between 900 million and a billion people are chronically hungry, and by 2050 agriculture will have to cope with these threats while feeding a growing population with changing dietary demands. This will require doubling food production, especially if we are to build up reserves for climatic extremes.
To do this requires sustainable intensification — getting more from less — on a durable basis.

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Resident poet for botanic garden

Resident poet for botanic garden | AnnBot | Scoop.it

There once was a woman from Roath,

Who liked to feel earth 'tween her toeth,

Her new poetry book,

Could be worth a look,

Because she's almost certainly better at making rhymes than I am.

 

If you think that outreach doesn't have to be firmly mondisciplinary then this sounds like good news.

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Scientists find how plants grow to escape shade

Scientists find how plants grow to escape shade | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Mild mannered though they seem, plants are extremely competitive, especially when it comes to getting their fair share of sunlight. Whether a forest or a farm, where plants grow a battle wages for the sun's rays.

Via Sakis Koukouvis
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Unique author identification with ORCHID: Scientists: your number is up

Unique author identification with ORCHID: Scientists: your number is up | AnnBot | Scoop.it
ORCID scheme will give researchers unique identifiers to improve tracking of publications.

In 2011, Y. Wang was the world’s most prolific author of scientific publications, with 3,926 to their name — a rate of more than 10 per day. T

 

This confusing problem could be solved following the launch later this year of the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID), an identifier system that will distinguish between authors who share the same name.

Just as barcodes at the supermarket allow the till to distinguish a tomato from a turnip, ORCID aims to reliably attribute research outputs to their true author by assigning every scientist on the planet a machine-readable, 16-digit unique digital identifier. If ORCID takes off, it could revolutionize research management, vastly increase the precision and breadth of scientific metrics and help in developing new analyses of, for example, social networks.

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Ethiopian cereal and chilli mills: making flour in the market from corn, tef, wheat and chilli

Flour milling in the west happens out of view! Here we can see three different grains being milled in two larger stone-mills, each with two pairs of electrically driven stones, and some grinding machines (probably cone pulverizers) are used for smaller quantities of less fine flour and also chillies. We see the traditional Ethiopian grain tef (Teff, Eragrostis tef, with tiny grains 1mm x 0.7 mm), wheat and white maize coming to the mills in 50kg sacks, and then the women sieve and winnow it in the air. It is then put into the grinder. For chilies in the final third of the video, women were buying them in the 5kg quantities in the market and thanking them to be ground at the mill - a quick search suggests that an Indian machine from http://www.brindustries.in/chilly-grinding-plants.htm was being used! The chillies were mostly very hot and the dust caught your throat. There didn't seem to be much protection from explosion in the flour mills.

 

Unlike the video of the Indian flour mills I posted earlier, http://youtu.be/1tPWqpj4680 , there was no sieving process to separate flour and bran. These mills are in Axum (Aksum), Ethiopia.

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Regreening and restoring Landscapes: Humbo, Ethiopia

Regreening and restoring Landscapes: Humbo, Ethiopia | AnnBot | Scoop.it

I've just returned from Ethiopia, and was making many conclusions related to this new blog! More will follow on the dreadful circle of firewood collection, rampant animals, more and more goats ... but meanwhile:

"Regreening initiatives are striving to combat or even reverse land degradation in the arid Sahelian region of Africa. This tactic is reaching significant scale, with benefits not only to the environment, but also for agricultural production and the livelihoods of rural people. Tony Rinaudo, World Vision’s natural resource management advisor in Australia, and wife Liz (also with World Vision) discuss one such project in Humbo, Ethiopia. They are travelling in East Africa for three months (March-May) to stimulate the regeneration of forests and farmland using Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.

Ethiopia – once a land of beautiful forests is now largely characterised by denuded mountains, cavernous eroded gullies and richly soiled fields traversed by smaller channels. From the top of many hills, the landscape appears deeply scarred.

Humbo in southern Ethiopia is an area which has been racked by famine, which resulted in communities receiving food aid year after year."

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Drug-making plant blooms

Drug-making plant blooms | AnnBot | Scoop.it
Approval of a ‘biologic’ manufactured in plant cells may pave the way for similar products.
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Ecosystem effects of biodiversity loss could rival impacts of climate change, pollution

Ecosystem effects of biodiversity loss could rival impacts of climate change, pollution | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Loss of biodiversity appears to impact ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution and other major forms of environmental stress, according to a new study. The study is the first comprehensive effort to directly compare the impacts of biological diversity loss to the anticipated effects of a host of other human-caused environmental changes.

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Why taxonomy is important for biodiversity-based science

Why taxonomy is important for biodiversity-based science | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Taxonomy usually refers to the theory and practice of describing, naming and classifying living things. Such work is essential for the fundamental understanding of biodiversity and its conservation. Yet the science behind delimiting the natural world into “species” is often neglected, misunderstood or even derided in some quarters.

The paper give the example of rattans of Africa, leading to the publication of a taxonomic monograph of these climbing palms. Taxonomic work of this kind is not purely an academic exercise. It is an essential basis for the conservation, development and management of the resource itself. It is important that the differences between species are clearly understood so that we know which species are of commercial importance and how they can be distinguished from other species that are not utilised and why. This knowledge is essential in order to undertake meaningful inventories of commercially important species and to be able to assess the potential of each species for cultivation and sustainable management. A structured taxonomic framework also ensures that any experimental or development work undertaken is replicable.


Via Luigi Guarino
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Science of the Invisible: Google+? It’s very simple

Science of the Invisible: Google+? It’s very simple | AnnBot | Scoop.it

f you’re interested in science communication, or learning about science, Google+ is the hot place to be. In January 2012, Google changed the game when it introduced “Search plus your world”, adding a social element to search results. Talk to any publisher and they will tell you that Google is still by far the biggest player in search, so if you want people to read about your science, you need to pay attention

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RuSource: Economic evidence for investing in the environment

RuSource:  Economic evidence for investing in the environment | AnnBot | Scoop.it

There are many examples where green infrastructure offers much better value for public investment than the alternative, for example natural water filtration and natural flood defence.

Alan Spedding over at RuSource had identified and summarized an important report with the less-than-exciting title "Natural England Research Report NERR033 ‘Microeconomic Evidence for the Benefits of Investment in the Environment – review’.

 

Natural climate control is much cheaper than the air-conditioning (or heating) it replaces. Natural air filtering is likely to be efficient compared to technical alternatives, particularly as trees provide so many other benefits. Access to greenspace and the promotion of active travel are extremely cost-effective ways to address Mental and physical ill-health.

 

From RuSource and Natural England

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Tomatoes: GM, Aroma And Tradition

Tomatoes: GM, Aroma And Tradition | AnnBot | Scoop.it

When we carry out traditions, we are under the illusion that we are repeating acts dating back to the dawn of our culture. But a few years later, as an adolescent, a plaque at Montreal's Botanical Gardens made me aware that tomatoes are not indigenous to the Old World, let alone Italy. Pasta can be traced to the Roman Empire, but it was eaten without tomato sauce.

via Rodomiro Ortiz

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Putting plants online

The New York Botanical Garden; the Missouri Botanical Garden; The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have announced plans to develop the World Flora - the first modern, online catalog of the world's plants - by the year 2020. This massive undertaking will include the compilation of information on up to 400,000 plant species worldwide. It will also achieve a primary target of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, an ambitious effort first adopted by the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002, to halt the continuing loss of plant biodiversity around the globe.

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History is key factor in plant disease virulence

History is key factor in plant disease virulence | AnnBot | Scoop.it

The virulence of plant-borne diseases depends on not just the particular strain of a pathogen, but on where the pathogen has been before landing in its host, according to new research results:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0034728 ;

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PLoS Pathogens: The Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis: Origin and Evolution of a Beneficial Plant Infection

PLoS Pathogens: The Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis: Origin and Evolution of a Beneficial Plant Infection | AnnBot | Scoop.it

Nicolas Corradi and Paola Bonfante from Canada and Italy review an ancient and ecologically critical fungal lineage: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) represent a monophyletic fungal lineage (Glomeromycota) that benefits terrestrial ecosystems worldwide by establishing an intimate association with the roots of most land plants: the mycorrhizal symbiosis. This relationship results in an improved acquisition of nutrients (e.g., phosphate and nitrates) from the soil by the plant partners and, in exchange, allows the AMF to obtain the photosynthetically fixed carbon sources (e.g., sugars) necessary for their survival and propagation [1], [2] (Figure 1). This fungal lineage is known to impact the function and biodiversity of entire ecosystems by producing extensive underground networks, composed of hyphae and spores, that interconnect a number of unrelated individual plant species [1], [2]. These networks also function as a significant sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide, and represent significant underground “nutrient highways” that benefit entire plant and microbial communities. Indeed, AMF spores and hyphae are also a valuable source of food for many soil microorganisms (i.e., bacteria, other fungi, and nematodes), and because of their many beneficial effects on terrestrial ecosystems, AMF are widely used in organic agriculture and plant nurseries to improve the growth of economically important species.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, Pat Heslop-Harrison
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