Seeing the wood to save the trees

The clouds part to reveal a sea of trees, wisps of mist snagging the canopy following the afternoon's tropical rain. The trees extend as far as the eye can see: a vast bowl of varied and verdant greens, dotted here and there with red – the flowering trees of the Dipterocarp family. Some stand high over the canopy, reaching heights of 90 metres. View of the tree canopy in th...
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How does the Amazon rainforest cope with drought?

The Amazon rainforest has been feeling the heat – and now it's drying out. Droughts are expected to become more prevalent and severe because of climate change. How these droughts affect the rainforest will have a big influence on future warming and global climate. A study led by Dr Marielle Smith and Dr Scott Stark, published in New Phytologist, investigates the Amazon rain...
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Climbing up to keep cool  – Climate change effects on mountain ecosystems

There are two things that make trekking in the Alps so good: the thick hot chocolate waiting for you in the refuge, and the variety of landscapes on offer. Along the mountain slope, different ecosystems are stratified one on top of the other, but recently all of them have been greatly affected by climate change, as the temperature in the Alps has increased faster than the glob...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:1, October 2018

To calcify, or not to calcify? Often, it's the smallest things, when taken together, that have the largest impacts. Calcification in the oceans – when calcium accumulates in the body tissues of an organism – is a major sink of carbon dioxide (CO2), and an important influence on the global carbon cycle. Calcification is a key aspect of the biology of the coccolithophores – a gr...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 219:3, August 2018

It's been hot, hasn't it? While many of us have been enjoying the sunshine, long dry spells are a challenge for plants. The way in which plants control the water content in their leaves is a critical part of their response to climate change. Researchers are finding out more about the ways that plants reduce transpiration rates when their leaves dry out. The photo, taken by Ch...
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Increasing tree mortality in a warming world

Trees in the tropics, especially important for the planet, face increasing threats. A mixture of factors is contributing to an increasing mortality rate of trees in the moist tropics. Trees in some areas are dying at about twice the rate that they were 35 years ago, according to a far-reaching study examining tree health in the tropical zone that spans South America to Africa ...
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Flood, drought and disease tolerant – one gene to rule them all

A newly discovered gene in rice confers flood tolerance, drought tolerance and disease resistance. The discovery is a major step forward on the quest to produce climate smart crops. An international collaboration between researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Nagoya University and the University of Western Australia has resulted in a breakthrough in plant biology. Since ...
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Deeper purple: how temperature affects pollen colour

There are plenty of studies on how petal colour varies, but new research looks at differences in the performance of pollen under varied environmental conditions based on its colour. In the study of the North American herb Campanula americana, published in New Phytologist, investigators found that differences in heat tolerance among pollen colour variants could contribute to geo...
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Unlocking the patterns of climate change

How will plant species respond to climate change? Amid thickets of fragrant rosemary and thyme, researchers from the University of Tübingen have developed a technique that will help to answer this question. Dr Mark Bilton and Professor Katja Tielbörger, from the Institute of Evolution and Ecology, reanalysed data with Spanish collaborators from their unprecedented 16-year ex...
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Partner swapping: a climate change survival strategy

Some species of lichen grow under very different climatic conditions. They are true survival artists. Now new research published in New Phytologist suggests that the secret to their success lies in their willingness to be unfaithful to their algal partners. Lichens are a classic example of symbiosis, in which a species of algae moves in with a fungus and, in exchange for she...
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