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Silicon transporters in Equisetum arvense. Plant Journal

Silicon transporters in Equisetum arvense. Plant Journal | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Silicon (Si) has diverse roles in plants including in stress tolerance and protecting plants against pathogens and herbivores. Silicon is abundant in soil and in many plants, particularly in the horsetail Equisetum, and liverworts. Its biology is less well understand than that of other minerals, so this study that looks at silicon uptake in Equisetum is quite interesting.

 

Here is a review article on the topic:

Si uptake in plants: Trends Plant Sci 2006 http://www.cell.com/trends/plant-science//retrieve/pii/S1360138506001634

 

Thanks to Tom for the photo:http://www.flickr.com/photos/clearwood/7187234331/in/photostream/

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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Reminder: Round 2 of Teaching Tools in Plant Biology competition, 31 Aug.

Reminder: Round 2 of Teaching Tools in Plant Biology competition, 31 Aug. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Reminder: Another chance to submit a pre-proposal to the Teaching Tools in Plant Biology competition, August 31 deadline. For more info: http://blog.aspb.org/…/share-your-enthusiasm-teaching-tool…/.
To see the winners from the first round of the competion, see http://blog.aspb.org/…/winning-entries-of-the-april-2015-t…/.

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Conference Tweeting. Part 2: Getting the most out of conference tweeting | Plant Science Today

Conference Tweeting. Part 2: Getting the most out of conference tweeting | Plant Science Today | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Why do people Tweet from talks and conferences? One of the main reasons is to broaden access to science beyond those able to attend a conference, benefitting the science, the speakers, and the off-site participants. Science is moving towards a more open, democratic culture, with Twitter having an important role. Read more about how Twitter enhances the conference experience for speakers and participants.

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At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator, Updated Edition

At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator, Updated Edition | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I haven't read this, but it was recommended by a friend as a good guide for new students to help them get started in the lab. The description says, "If you are a graduate student, a physician with research intentions, or a laboratory technician, this book is indispensable. If you have to manage or mentor such people, giving a copy to each of them will greatly improve your life, and theirs."

What do you think? Is this something every lab should have?

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12 Tips for Scientists Writing for the General Public » American Scientist

12 Tips for Scientists Writing for the General Public » American Scientist | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Good tips - especially #3 Each subsection and paragraph is a potential pathway into the text for a scanning reader. Yes! The subheadings and topic sentences are vitally important as signposts and onramps for readers.

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Rice researchers redress retraction

Rice researchers redress retraction | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Team that retracted its own papers finally finds elusive trigger of plant immune response.
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A poem about the evolution of photosynthesis by Ralph A. Lewin

A poem about the evolution of photosynthesis by Ralph A. Lewin | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

You might like this cute poem by the algal biologist Ralph A. Lewin (1921 - 2008). The poem was quoted in one of Govindjee's History of Photosynthesis articles http://www.life.illinois.edu/govindjee/Part1/Part1_Govindjee_Gest.pdf

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Inspiring the Women of the Future event at John Innes Centre

Five-minute film on the recent event at JIC - if you look closely you'll spot some plants and plant researchers!


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CSIRO Science Image Library CC licensed

CSIRO Science Image Library CC licensed | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I'm always on the lookout for good images licenced for reuse, and if you have students doing any kind of projects you probably are too. I just discovered this treasure - lots of images of crops, food and environment from Australia.

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Not sure what an agronomist is? UW-Madison students explain in a video

Not sure what an agronomist is? UW-Madison students explain in a video | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
More than 14,000 agronomy-related jobs are posted with an estimated growth rate of 6.5 percent, yet only 2,800 new agronomy students graduate annually to fill these positions. Gaspar said agronomists help farmers on a daily basis solve different challenges they face in their field by being at the forefront of connecting farmers with new technologies and production practices that are developed using high tech tools and instruments.
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Pre-prints: just do it? (by Stephen Curry)

Pre-prints: just do it? (by Stephen Curry) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

There is momentum building behind the adoption of pre-print servers in the life sciences. Ron Vale, a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF and Lasker Award winner, has just added a further powerful impulse to this movement in the form, appropriately, of a pre-print posted to the BioarXiv just a few days ago.

Mary Williams's insight:

Note that The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology support the use of preprint servers like BioRxiv so go ahead and do it

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Society asks NIH to act now to lessen biomed scientist glut

Society asks NIH to act now to lessen biomed scientist glut | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
ASBMB identifies consensus recommendations in previous reports, plans meeting to craft steps forward
Mary Williams's insight:

Direct link to PNAS perspective, "Toward a sustainable biomedical research enterprise: Finding consensus and implementing recommendations"  http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/16/1509901112

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ICAR (Arabidopsis meeting) 2015 (with images, tweets) · PlantTeaching

5 - 9 July 2015, Paris
The full program is here
http://www.arabidopsisconference2015.org/events.php?IDManif=839&IDModule=71&IDRub=1330
Mary Williams's insight:

Follow the link for a curated set of Tweets from the recent conference on Arabidopsis research!


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STEM education: What's missing in graduate science education?

STEM education: What's missing in graduate science education? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Thought leaders across the globe answer one question: what is the biggest missing piece in how we educate scientists? Responses ranged from the practical to the philosophical.
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Convergent evolution of strigolactone perception enabled host detection in parasitic plants -Science

Obligate parasitic plants in the Orobanchaceae germinate after sensing plant hormones, strigolactones, exuded from host roots. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the α/β-hydrolase D14 acts as a strigolactone receptor that controls shoot branching, whereas its ancestral paralog, KAI2, mediates karrikin-specific germination responses. We observed that KAI2, but not D14, is present at higher copy numbers in parasitic species than in nonparasitic relatives. KAI2 paralogs in parasites are distributed into three phylogenetic clades. The fastest-evolving clade, KAI2d, contains the majority of KAI2 paralogs. Homology models predict that the ligand-binding pockets of KAI2d resemble D14. KAI2d transgenes confer strigolactone-specific germination responses to Arabidopsis thaliana. Thus, the KAI2 paralogs D14 and KAI2d underwent convergent evolution of strigolactone recognition, respectively enabling developmental responses to strigolactones in angiosperms and host detection in parasites.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Conference Tweeting for Plant Scientists Part 1: Twitter basics | Plant Science Today

Conference Tweeting for Plant Scientists Part 1: Twitter basics | Plant Science Today | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

At several conferences this summer I’ve been asked for a tutorial to help scientists start Tweeting, and also for advice about Twitter at conferences. This is Part 1 (basics), see Part 2 for guidance on conference Tweeting.

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Active Learning from iBiology

Active Learning from iBiology | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
In this active learning module, find out how active learning addresses the current challenges in biology education.
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Teaching Tools in Plant Biology on WeChat

Teaching Tools in Plant Biology on WeChat | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Hello! Because different people use different communication tools, we've decided to start posting notifications about Teaching Tools in Plant Biology, and plant education in general, on We Chat. If this is a platform you use, scan the QR code to start following our account.


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Plant Biology 2015 - more than great science

Plant Biology 2015 - more than great science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

If you're lucky enough to be heading out to Minneapolis for the Plant Biology conference that starts this weekend, you’re probably looking forward to hearing great talks and sharing your own work. However, there are lots of other events taking place at this conference that you should be aware of and participate in.

First, be sure to stop by the ASPB booths in the exhibitor area. There are special zones with information about Membership, Policy, Publishing, and Education, and you can meet the staff who work behind-the scenes at the society’s headquarters and journal offices. Be sure to stop by the Publications booth during the opening reception to celebrate the publication of the Second edition of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants. If you use social media (or want to), this is also a chance to meet up with other fans at our “Twitter Meet Up”, and you can learn more about Plantae, the new digital ecosystem for plant science.

 

There are also many opportunities for you to get advice about moving your career forward – see http://blog.aspb.org/2015/05/11/advance-your-career-at-plant-biology-2015/. As examples, you can set up a personal appointment to have your CV reviewed by an expert, you can attend a  lunchtime career chat, you can attend a panel discussion on work-live balance, you can meet with the Editors-in-Chief of Plant Cell and Plant Physiology to get tips on publishing in these journals, and you can attend a Careers Workshop. See the program or ask the ASPB stand or the Careers Center for more information. Some of the events require pre-registration, so be sure to ask space is still available.

 

Finally, note that there is a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, in which you can meet the journal editors and ASPB’s elected and professional leaders, as well as learn more about how the society is financed and  how the income is used to support plant science and plant scientists. If you have ideas, questions or concerns, this is a great place to voice them!

I hope I see you in Minneapolis – if not, start planning to join us in Austin, Texas in July 2016!

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Quest for climate-proof farms

Quest for climate-proof farms | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Climate change is a major threat to food production, so researchers are working with farmers to make agriculture more resilient.
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, July 24, 9:40 AM

Good strategy is to promote resilient crops.

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Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning

Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Too often school assessments heighten anxiety and hinder learning. New research shows how to reverse the trend
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Lucy and Ethel wrap chocolates! - YouTube

I'm working on the Teaching Guide for the forthcoming Teachng Tool on Photosynthetic Light Reactions. This is one of my favorite ways to get students to think about how plants deal with excess light energy. The video is really fun (if the link breaks, search for "Lucy and Ethel and the chocolate factory"), but it can also help students visualize the rapid changes in energy flow through the photosystems. I'd have students watch the video and then in groups discuss, "What reactions of photosynthesis can be described by this analogy? What action best represents photochemistry? What symbolizes photoinhibition? In a chloroplast, how is the effectiveness of the electron-transport chain signalled? How would the information that energy flow is too fast be transmitted to the light harvesting system, and how does it respond?". An alternative view is that Lucy and Ethel represent ATP synthases and the chocolates protons. How would the build-up of protons in the thylakoid lumen be transduced to the light-harvesting complexes? What would happen if the signal "Speed it up" were sent?

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F1000Research Article: Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (v2).

F1000Research Article: Digital teaching tools and global learning communities (v2). | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We've revised our F1000Research article "Digital teaching tools and global learning communities" http://f1000research.com/articles/4-59/v2


One of the reviewers asked us to put Teaching Tools in Plant Biology into the context of other educational resources. Here's our response,

"Although core concepts and inquiry-based activities are based on good pedagogical principles and can inspire students to want to learn more about plant science, they rarely prepare students for the rigor and complexity of contemporary plant science research.

There is a huge knowledge gap between “Plants are the primary food and oxygen producers on Earth”

and

"Flavodiiron protein Flv2/Flv4-related photoprotective mechanism dissipates excitation pressure of PSII in cooperation with phycobilisomes in cyanobacteria”,

and it is this gap between engagement and expertise that Teaching Tools in Plant Biology is designed to bridge, by making the primary literature accessible."

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Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments

Act on climate change now, top British institutions tell governments | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Joint letter by 24 scientific, medical and engineering bodies say mitigation will also bring economic and health benefits
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How to get thoughtful responses to exam questions?

How to get thoughtful responses to exam questions? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Someone asked for advice about how to get more thoughtful answers to exam questions, and in the ensuing discussion one person suggested "Ask thoughtful questions". This is great advice, but it's harder than it sounds. I'll be collecting and sharing some examples to inspire you to ask thoughtful questions of your students.


A key to success in asking such a question is to prepare the students in advance - you have to show them other, similar questions, hypothesis and experiments that they can use as models in their responses to a different but similar question.


To help them develop the ability to ponder this question, I prepared students  by discussing three classic experimentsover several different class periods.  The first was Darwin's study of light perception in coleoptiles to elicit their bending response to unidirectional light. Darwin asked where the light was perceived by masking different parts of the plant. (So that's one question a student could ask about resveratrol - which part of the plant perceives the light).

Another experiment we studied was the induction of flowering by daylength. Here I introduced not only the question of where light was perceived, but also the wavelength of light that elicits the response, the duration of the light signal needed, and the time required between message elicitation and its reception in the shoot meristem (all reasonable questions to ask about resveratrol production).

Finally, we looked at systemic acquired resistance to pathogens and pests, again examining experiments to investigate where the stimulus is perceived, the nature of the signal, how it travels to distal tissues etc.


Ideally, before an exam you'll work through a similar problem with students, by asking them to propose hypotheses and experiments and giving feedback on their responses. This can be done as homework assignments or during class time, which works particularly well because students can hear what other students propose andso learn from their peers' ideas and thoughts.

Mary Williams's insight:

Do you have a thoughtful  plant biology question you've used for assessment that you're willing to share? Drop me a line if you do!

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Genetic determinants of the network of primary metabolism and their relationships to plant performance in a maize recombinant inbred line population

Genetic determinants of the network of primary metabolism and their relationships to plant performance in a maize recombinant inbred line population | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

“Taking advantage of a valuable genetic resource (recombinant inbred lines), we revealed the genetic basis that underlies variation of primary metabolism in multiple tissues. This information could be of direct use in designing breeding strategies for the improvement of high value matabolites”.

Mary Williams's insight:

A pretty powerful approach, combining genetics and metabolomics.

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