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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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What Can We Do About the Science Communication Crisis?

What Can We Do About the Science Communication Crisis? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
We have almost no data on how specific print, television, or Internet stories influence public perception of scientific issues—and it's crucial to find out
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Stories of 2015: January - AoB Blog

Stories of 2015: January - AoB Blog | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
What were the most popular stories of the year? This year we're looking at what was most popular on our Facebook page to see what stories you liked or shar
Mary Williams's insight:

Check out the AoB Blog for their top stories of 2015. Good reading for the last week of the year!

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Now That's What I Call Plant Science 2015

Now That's What I Call Plant Science 2015 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

From Global Plant Council: "With another year nearly over we recently put out a call for nominations for the Most Influential Plant Science Research of 2015. Suggestions flooded in, and we also trawled through our social media feeds to see which stories inspired the most discussion and engagement. It was fantastic to read about so much amazing research from around the world. Below are our top five, selected based on impact for the plant science research community, engagement on social media, and importance for both policy and potential end product/application."

Mary Williams's insight:

Good top-five list from the Global Plant Council - a nice list to share with students!

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Plants in the news 18 December 2015: The Paris Climate Talks (COP21)

Plants in the news 18 December 2015: The Paris Climate Talks (COP21) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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#SocMedHE15 Online

#SocMedHE15 Online | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Not got a ticket for #SocMedHE15 yet? it’s not too late! you can still get one from go.shu.ac.uk/socmedhe. But if you can’t join us this year, you can still take part in the following ways: Follow …
Mary Williams's insight:

There are a lot of good ideas here for how to maximize your conference impact via social media!

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What’s in your herbal medicines?

What’s in your herbal medicines? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Making sure that a tablet claiming to have 500 mg of paracetamol really does contain 500 mg of paracetamol is relatively easy. But how do you test for herbs?
Mary Williams's insight:

Here's a link to the article this article is based on, "Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)" http://www.nature.com/articles/srep17475 (it's open access too).

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Five things you need to know about the Paris climate deal

Five things you need to know about the Paris climate deal | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
COP21 ended with an agreement that is at once both historic, important – and inadequate
Mary Williams's insight:

This is a good summary of what happened and what it means

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Soil: An essential ingredient to healthy food and nutrition

Learn more on how our soils are by nature linked to the micronutrient content of our food production and how to reverse the increasing trend of nutrient depl...
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Inner-City Farmers May Have Toxic Soil on Their Hands

Inner-City Farmers May Have Toxic Soil on Their Hands | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Lead is a particular risk as people try to turn potentially contaminated urban sites into productive and sustainable farms
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Opinion: To feed the world in 2050 will require a global revolution

Opinion: To feed the world in 2050 will require a global revolution | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Wow - here's something to talk about.
Hard-hitting Opinion article in PNAS by Paul Ehrlich and John Harte.
"Opinion: To feed the world in 2050 will require a global revolution"
They suggest a multi-pronged approach, but say,
"Whether such a set of reforms can be instituted, given the influence wielded by those who profit from the status quo, and the indifference of far greater numbers, remains a huge question; we find it hard to be optimistic."
What do you think of their opinion article? Are they asking too much? Do you think any of the changes they endorse will happen?

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What is climate change?

What is climate change? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Six graphics that explain climate change as world leaders gather in Paris for COP21.
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Best of Plants 2015: Outreach and Communication

Best of Plants 2015: Outreach and Communication | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
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Global Plant Council's curator insight, January 3, 7:29 PM

Another great end-of-year post from Mary Williams at the ASPB. Check out the best of plant science outreach in 2015!

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Agriculture: Achieving a Yield Revolution in Major Food

Agriculture: Achieving a Yield Revolution in Major Food | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

From Business Today India, a commentary by M.S. Swaminathan. A look at the future of farming in India; from Green Revolution to Evergreen Revolution.

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Italian scientists under investigation after olive-tree deaths

Italian scientists under investigation after olive-tree deaths | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I don't have any insights to this story but it is remarkable. It concerns the handling of an Xylella fastidiosa outbreak in the olive producing trees of southern Italy.
In an effort to stop the spread, infected trees have been cut and removed. As many of these trees are quite old and charismatic, this is a harsh measure. One of the questions is, is it justified and necessary to save other trees from this pathogen?
The surprise twist is that several people, including researchers at the University of Bari, are now under investigation for their handling of the crisis, including for "the destruction or disfigurement of natural beauty".
It will be interesting to follow this emerging story - it reminds me of the case last year in which Italian scientists were charged with manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake.

More coverage: http://www.pbs.org/…/italian-olive-trees-are-withering-fro…/ and here http://xylellacodiro.blogspot.co.uk/ and a good collection of articles from Olive Oil Times here http://xylellacodiro.blogspot.co.uk/

 

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Anastasia Reynolds's curator insight, December 23, 2015 8:35 PM

The death made us thinking now. We only see the problem when things happened. 

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Invasive Species Google Earth Tour Video

errific "Sea grapes" sound like something Poseidon would snack on, not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. ...

Mary Williams's insight:

Terrific 6 min video

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Achilles' Heel - the story of cassava presented by CIAT

Achilles' Heel - the story of cassava presented by CIAT | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is really cool - you have to check it out. The future of storytelling?


"What’s in your noodle soup? You may never have heard of it before. Cassava - or tapioca - is a root crop like sweet potato originally from South America, where it is steamed or boiled and eaten as a source of carbohydrate. It appears that Spanish traders introduced the species from Mexico to Southeast Asia in the 19th Century, where it survived drought and high temperatures. It’s still eaten as a root crop in some areas, especially in mountainous areas where few other crops will grow. But today it’s also used in a wide range of other foods and markets, and cassava starch is used to make everything from noodles to sweeteners. "


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Living fossils: the plants holding the key to ancient and modern climate change

Living fossils: the plants holding the key to ancient and modern climate change | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Despite being (somewhat surprisingly) named after a pubic triangle, Ginkgo biloba can help us understand atmosphere changes over nearly 300 million years
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♫ Scientists Are Saving The World With Puppets And Algae ♫

Share this video with the hashtag #chlamy
Get your very own Sammy The Chlamy plush doll!!
Learn more about research in the Jonikas Lab: http://bit.ly/jonikas

Mary Williams's insight:

Adorable

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Studying Plant Science Is Vital

Understanding plant cell biology is vital in how we feed a growing population. Professor Chris Hawes from Oxford Brookes University presents a Nature Live Ta...
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Newest Teaching Tool: Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis

Newest Teaching Tool: Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We’re delighted to announce that the latest Teaching Tool in Plant Biology article “Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis” is published. This article was written by me (Mary Williams), as well Ru Zhong (Carnegie Institute of Science) and Johnna Roose (Louisiana State University).
Link to Teaching Tool: http://www.plantcell.org/site/teachingtools/TTPB32.xhtml

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Why are there no little green men? (Clue: it's something to do with photosynthesis)

Why are there no little green men? (Clue: it's something to do with photosynthesis) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
There are solar-power sea slugs, so why haven't humans mastered the art of photosynthesis?
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Green Grow the Salamanders

Nice video introduces the photosymbiosis between a vertebrate salamander and an alga. We cover this in the new Teaching Tool on the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis, because it's fascinating.


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Nature: Save our soils

Nature: Save our soils | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

There are several good articles and comments in this week's Nature (3 December 2015) on the topic of soil management, including a very good Open Access overview of the hows and whys of nutrient reclamation from wastewater, "Chemistry: Reuse water pollutants"

http://www.nature.com/news/chemistry-reuse-water-pollutants-1.18899.

One of the major problems with applying fertilizers to crops is the downstream contamination of wastewaters. Extracting these nutrient contaminants both extends nutrient reserves (particularly important for P) and decreases environmental harm. It's an interesting topic for discussion in your Plant Nutrition lessons.

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