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  • Antarctic shore
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    Potential risk of photo-damage in Antarctic photosynthetic organisms

    Light is indispensable for photosynthetic organisms, but excess light energy causes damage in photosystems and readily leads to cell death in severe environments such as Antarctica. Kosugi et al. determine reaction coefficients of photo-inactivation in three Antarctic dominant species, Prasiola crispa (green alga), Umbilicaria decussata (lichen) and Ceratodon purpureus (bryophyte). They relate them to light […] More

  • Measuring drought tolerance.

    Predicting habitat affinities with drought tolerance traits in herbaceous dicots

    Soil water availability is an important mechanism filtering plant species. Twenty-five herbaceous dicot species were grown under controlled conditions in order to measure a suite of physiological traits associated with a plant’s water economy. Belluau and Shipley identify five traits related to gas exchange that define the ability to acquire resources (when water is not […] More

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    Antarctic endophytes improve drought tolerance in lettuce plants

    Climate change has limited the availability of water for irrigating crops throughout many regions of the world. Indeed, current models of climate change predict that arid and semi-arid zones will be places where precipitation will drastically decrease. In this context plant root-associated fungi from ecosystems currently subjected to severe drought conditions could improve the ecophysiological […] More

  • Drawings of the above- and below-ground extension of the species Pinus sylvestris, Pimpinella saxifrage, Zygophullum xanthoxylo and Convolvulus tragacanthoides.

    Deep roots and their functions in ecosystems

    Deep roots determine many ecosystem services but remain understudied, due to the challenges involved in the observation and measurement of deep roots. In this paper, Pierret et al. show that root structures and functions differ according to their depth and suggest that deep rooting systems could be more widespread than was previously thought. Many accepted […] More

  • Brachypodium distachyon

    Brachypodium peroxidase and drought tolerance

    The peroxidase (POD) family shows functional diversity. Luo et al. demonstrate that Brachypodium distachyon ecotypes have distinct specific POD isozymes. Two POD genes are closely associated with whole-plant response to drought, which may lead to natural variations of drought tolerance. The role of specific POD genes in differentiating Brachypodium accessions with contrasting drought tolerance could […] More

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    Conflicting genomic signals affect phylogenetic inference in four species of North American pines

    Pines (genus Pinus) are among the most ecologically and economically important plant species. Some, such as the pines of the southeastern USA (southern pines in subsection Australes), are the subject of intensive breeding programmes. Despite numerous published studies, the evolutionary history of Australes remains ambiguous and often controversial. In a recent study published in AoB […] More

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    Epigenetics of drought-induced trans-generational plasticity; consequences for range limit development

    Offspring phenotypes may be altered by environments that their parents lived in.These environmentally-induced trans-generational effects may be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation. Little is known about the role of such epigenetic effects in evolution; however, it is expected to facilitate evolution. To expand geographic range, it is thought that most species would […] More

  • Effects of elevated CO2 and P on drought tolerance

    Phosphorus and elevated CO2 enhance drought tolerance

    Benefits to crop productivity arising from increasing CO2 fertilization may be offset by detrimental effects of global climate change, such as an increasing frequency of drought. Phosphorus ( P ) nutrition plays an important role in crop responses to water stress, but how elevated CO2 (eCO2) and P nutrition interact, especially in legumes, is unclear. […] More

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    Differential drought tolerance in tree populations from contrasting elevations

    To predict the ecological consequences of climate change for a widely distributed tree species, it is essential to develop a deep understanding of the ecophysiological responses of populations from contrasting climates to varied soil water availabilities. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Ma et al. investigated the differential drought tolerance between populations of […] More

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    Giving drought the cold shoulder: A relationship between drought tolerance and fall dormancy in an agriculturally important crop

    Fall dormant/freezing tolerant plants often also exhibit superior tolerance to drought conditions compared to their non-fall dormant/freezing intolerant counterparts.   In a recent article published in AoB PLANTS, Pembleton and Sathish report the results of an experiment aimed to investigate this phenomenon in an agriculturally important crop.  Seven alfalfa cultivars with varying levels of fall dormancy/freezing […] More