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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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ASBP Convenes Second Phase of Plant Science Research Summit - Community Input Invited

ASBP Convenes Second Phase of Plant Science Research Summit - Community Input Invited | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
What are the three most critical plant science research priorities over the next 10 years? Why?
Is the current direction/funding in plant science research aligned with the most critical research priorities?
What are the greatest barriers to progress in plant science research today (e.g., funding, technology, resources, infrastructure)? What is being done to address these barriers?

To share your thoughts, please visit the Plant Science Research Summit website (http://plantsummit.wordpress.com/) and click the "COMMUNITY INPUT" tab at the upper right of the page.
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For maximum impact, all feedback should be submitted by December 19, 2012.

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Telegraph: British scientists appeal to world for Ash dieback help (2012)

Telegraph: British scientists appeal to world for Ash dieback help (2012) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
British scientists have made a global appeal for help finding weaknesses in the fungus causing ash dieback after publishing the first molecular sequencing data on the disease.

Using information on the fungus's RNA – the sister molecule of DNA which helps regulate the behaviour of genes – researchers hope to discover how the fungus causes disease, and how it can be stopped. Scientists from the Sainsbury Laboratory and the John Innes Centre examined a sample of pith from a twig of an infected Ash tree in Ashwellthorpe wood in Norfolk, the first natural environment where the fungus was found in the UK. From the sample they extracted RNA and sequenced it to help them identify which genes are most influential in allowing the fungus to spread between trees so quickly. In normal circumstances, scientists would analyse the sample thoroughly and have their findings peer-reviewed before publishing them in a journal. But because of the urgency of the situation, the researchers took the unusual step of publishing their data online and asking experts from around the world to help them produce accurate results more quickly through "crowdsourcing".

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Science ($): The Tale of the TALEs

Science ($): The Tale of the TALEs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Here's a summary of the discovery and applications of TALES (transcription activator–like effectors) suitable for students
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AoB Blog: A future for frankincense

AoB Blog: A future for frankincense | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Here's a timely new publication from the Annals of Botany, and a summary of it from the AoB blog, about the sustainable harvesting of frankincense from Boswellia papyrifera.

"Resins from Boswellia and Commiphora species (respectively known as frankincense and myrrh) were traded as incenses from the southern coast of Arabia to the Mediterranean region and Mesopotamia for more than a millennium. Modern uses of frankincense include church ceremonies, perfume and medicine production."
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Appl. Env. Microbiol. ($) Factors Affecting Prevalence of Foodborne Pathogens in Fruit and Vegetable Farms

Appl. Env. Microbiol. ($) Factors Affecting Prevalence of Foodborne Pathogens in Fruit and Vegetable Farms | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
"Produce related outbreaks have been traced back to the preharvest environment. A longitudinal study was conducted on five farms in New York State to characterize prevalence, persistence, and diversity of foodborne pathogens in fresh produce fields and to determine landscape and meteorological factors that predict their presence.....These findings advance recommendations to minimize the risk of preharvest contamination by enhancing models of the environmental constraints on the survival and persistence of foodborne pathogens in fields."
Mary Williams's insight:

Science at work, so we can relax and enjoy our fresh produce

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Ash dieback: lack of plant scientists blamed for slow response

Ash dieback: lack of plant scientists blamed for slow response | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
"We need more university courses to produce more people trained in plant pathology."
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UK: Global wheat shortage puts 10p on a loaf of bread

UK: Global wheat shortage puts 10p on a loaf of bread | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
The cost of bread, cake and pastry will rise sharply as a result of a global wheat shortage, with the price of a loaf increasing by 10p.

Via CIMMYT, Int.
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Derek Muller: The key to effective educational science videos

In a 6 minute video, Derek Muller the Creative Director of Veritasium, a science video blog with 90 film, explains his insights and the need to address misconceptions.

 

We linked earlier to this Veritasium video: "Trees are Freaking Awesome", in which you can see his strategy at work

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BickMFHAZR0

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The World in Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods:

The World in Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods

~ Claire Eamer (author) More about this product
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Pamela Hines gives this children's book a good review in Science this week (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6112/1289.full) (ages 8 and up) and so do the reviewers on Amazon. It includes the history of common foods such as watermelon, apples and tomatoes, and even a discussion about plant hormones!

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technologytoteach's curator insight, December 21, 2013 7:07 AM

Always on the look out for good science books for children

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National Geographic - GIANT sequoias

National Geographic - GIANT sequoias | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

You've got to look closely to see the tiny people that give away the immense size of these trees. The horizontal branch is about the same size as a "normal" tree. I get tingles looking at this photo - what a tree!

 

Here's a free ebook about history and natural history of Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks, from the US National Park Service: http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/dilsaver-tweed/index.htm.

 

I extend back my  thanks to  the 19th century conservationists who made sure these trees were protected. I wish we were doing a better job today - I'm not sure our grandchildren will have much to thank us for!

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The CRAP test in action - Guide for Student Research (Portland State)

The CRAP test in action - Guide for Student Research (Portland State) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The CRAP test: Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/ Point of view is a simple and memorable way to help students evaluate sources for their research. This page from the Portland State University Library has two short videos that demonstrate the CRAP test being used to evaluate websites and articles. 

 

Here's a PDF overview of the CRAP test, with a list of questions to ask about the source to evaluate it: http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/central/Soc/crap.pdf

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Plant Physiol: Proteome analysis shoot- and root-specific targets of cytokinin action ...

Plant Physiol: Proteome analysis shoot- and root-specific targets of cytokinin action ... | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Here, we show that the Arabidopsis proteome responds with strong tissue- and time-specificity to aromatic CK 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) and that fast posttranscriptional and/or posttranslational regulation of protein abundance is involved in the contrasting shoot and root proteome response to BAP. In the shoot, BAP upregulates the abundance of proteins involved in abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and the ABA response, whereas in the root, BAP rapidly and strongly upregulates the majority of proteins in the ethylene biosynthetic pathway."

 

Nice!

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Two videos and more! Happy World Soil Day from FAO of the UN

Two videos, a podcast and a poem!

 

Here's the non-animated, slightly longer version:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YdBpLfhuZuk)'

 

a message from Soil Science Australia (http://www.abc.net.au/rural/tas/content/2012/12/s3648055.htm),

 

and a poem from the International Union of Soil Scientists (http://www.iuss.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=405)

 

and lots of info from the Soil Society of America (https://www.soils.org/), about this VERY important natural resource

 

and the James Hutton Institute (http://www.hutton.ac.uk/news/world-soil-day-lets-celebrate-our-most-prized-asset)

 

And a suite of videos from the Society for General Microbiology (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE2A485A296FE9590)

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Time for a rethink? Getting smart about politics on climate change and agriculture

Time for a rethink? Getting smart about politics on climate change and agriculture | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
By Lars Otto Naess, FAC Climate Change theme convenor, and Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex.

Via CGIAR Climate
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Sam Sani Nzevela's comment, December 14, 2012 3:40 AM
Lack of proper leadership at the community level is also another source of poverty. Good leaders should be able to help the community to manage the resources and create meaningful wealth. If we engage the community to plant trees then we must provide alternative energy and other meaningful economic activities to support live. Leaders must be able to form effective community teams - like saccos to initiate and take ownership of economic processes/activities, attract funding and apply proper implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of community projects
Sam Sani Nzevela's comment, December 14, 2012 3:40 AM
Lack of proper leadership at the community level is also another source of poverty. Good leaders should be able to help the community to manage the resources and create meaningful wealth. If we engage the community to plant trees then we must provide alternative energy and other meaningful economic activities to support live. Leaders must be able to form effective community teams - like saccos to initiate and take ownership of economic processes/activities, attract funding and apply proper implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of community projects
Sam Sani Nzevela's curator insight, December 14, 2012 3:44 AM

Agriculture, Climate Change and Politics, is the order that I see it. Very good topic. Keep it up.

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Science ($): Arthropod Diversity in a Tropical Forest

Science ($): Arthropod Diversity in a Tropical Forest | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
"Total arthropod species richness in a tropical rainforest can be best predicted by plant diversity."
Mary Williams's insight:

In other words, if you love your fauna, take care of your flora....

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Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden


Via Eve Emshwiller
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Eve Emshwiller's curator insight, December 13, 2012 5:54 PM
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden Recounted by Maxi'diwiac (Buffalo Bird Woman) of the Hidatsa Indian Tribe (ca.1839-1932), edited by Gilbert Livingstone Wilson (1868-1930). Originally published as "Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians: An Indian Interpretation" by Gilbert Livingstone Wilson, Ph.D. (1868-1930) Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota (Studies in the Social Sciences, #9), 1917. Ph. D. Thesis.

This is a classic!  The entire text is online here.

 

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TTPB15 revised: Strigolactones

TTPB15 revised: Strigolactones | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
We first published the "Strigolactones" Teaching Tool in April 2011. We've just released the updated files, including lots of new ideas as well as an up-to-date bibliography. Subscription to Plant Cell or ASPB membership required for download.
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BioScience: Why do so many women leave biology?

The retention rate of women in the biological sciences, both in the United States and Canada, is lower than would be expected from the number of female doctoral students who graduated within the last decade, and lower than it is in medicine.
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47 Japanese Farms: Japan Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities -- 47日本の農園

47 Japanese Farms: Japan  Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities  -- 47日本の農園 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A journey through 47 prefectures to capture the stories of Japan's farmers and rural communities
Mary Williams's insight:

Here's a very pretty blog for all the Japan-o-philes, written by two Americans living in Japan.

 

"47 Farms is a three and a half year project examining Japanese  agriculture through interviews and working farm stays with farmers in each of Japan`s 47 prefectural entities."

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Current Biology: Mycorrhizal Symbiosis: Ancient Signalling Mechanisms Co-opted (2012)

Current Biology: Mycorrhizal Symbiosis: Ancient Signalling Mechanisms Co-opted (2012) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Mycorrhizal root endosymbiosis is an ancient property of land plants. Two parallel studies now provide novel insight into the mechanism driving this interaction and how it is used by other filamentous microbes like pathogenic oomycetes.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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NASA video: Departing space station commander provides tour of orbital laboratory

Charming!

Here's your tourguide's wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunita_Williams

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Science: Copy # Variation of Multiple Genes @ Rhg1 Mediates Nematode Resistance in Soybean

Science: Copy # Variation of Multiple Genes @ Rhg1 Mediates Nematode Resistance in Soybean | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Oh I like this paper! It examines the genetic basis for resistance to soybean cyst nematode. It's a good, well-written puzzle and fascinating, important story - a good choice for discussing in a genetics class!

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NIH Promises to Improve Biomedical Research Training - ScienceInsider

Good policies here - hopefully they will make life a bit easier for PhD students and post-docs. I expect the NSF will pursue similar policies.

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Phytophthora root rot in the NY Times: Building a Better Christmas Tree (2012)

Phytophthora root rot in the NY Times: Building a Better Christmas Tree (2012) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Researchers are trying to develop a Christmas tree that will hold onto its needles from Thanksgiving to New Year’s — not a small thing in a $1 billion industry.

 

From Lab to Living Room - A typical tree can take from 8 to 12 years to go from seed cone to Christmas tree stand.

 

The largest Christmas tree operations harvest almost a million trees a year, transporting them by helicopter.

 

A small operation like Bell’s Christmas Tree Farm might raise fewer than 30,000 trees.

 

Before a seedling arrives at a small farm, it may have been germinated by a large forestry company and transplanted several times at a third nursery.

 

The quest for a better tree has led growers to look beyond favorites like blue spruce (below) to less common varieties, like Turkish, Korean and Canaan firs.

 

Organic Christmas tree farms are rare. Growers typically use pesticides to control blights like Phytophthora root rot and Swiss needle cast.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Jeanie Borlaug: On the wheat trail in Ethiopia

Jeanie Borlaug: On the wheat trail in Ethiopia | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative believes in training young scientists and helping them develop professional careers. During my trip, I was excited to see a lot of young Ethiopian scientists and seeds people.Their efforts would make my father proud. My Dad believed in equal opportunities for both women and men. My parents insisted that my brother and I receive a good education. And all of my father’s grandchildren (five girls and one boy) are well educated. My father used to say: “Education is something nobody can take away from you.” He also believed that about scientific training."

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