Prof. Sir David Smith (1930–2018)

Professor Sir David Smith (1930–2018) It is with sadness that we note the death of Professor Sir David Smith FRS FRSE FLS on 29th June 2018. Sir David was a former Editor-in-Chief (Executive Editor) and Trustee of New Phytologist. David Smith joined the editorial board in 1965, and shortly afterwards became Executive Editor (Editor-in-Chief), a position he held for 17 years. ...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 220:2, October 2018

The search for tabaiba Dust and desert sand billowed from the back of the black 4x4 as it pitched and bumped along the deeply rutted track. Lisa Pokorny and Riki Riina had been searching the flat and deserted landscape, scanning the parched, orange horizon, deep in the Western Sahara, for two days. With success seeming increasingly remote, they crested a rise and were finally ...
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Fungi matter: State of the World’s Fungi 2018

Today sees the release of the State of the World’s Fungi 2018. This is the third report from the ambitious and far reaching State of the World’s Plants and Fungi project led by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, supported by the Sfumato Foundation. The project aims to assess our knowledge of the diversity of plants and fungi on Earth, the challenges and threats they ...
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Better safe than sorry: Soil microbiota puts tomato in a state of alert (+ Italian version)

You can also read this post in Italian – scroll down. You probably know that there are trillions of microorganisms living all over our bodies, especially enjoying our warm and appetising guts. The population of microbes that help our digestion, or simply hang around our bodies, is called the microbiota, and plants have one as well. The plant microbiota is particularly concentr...
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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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How rice spots its relatives underground: Kin recognition and productivity

minute read. If you think that life in the city is crowded, you have never been a root. The world beneath the soil surface is busier than any metropolis. It is a place in which a root can find anything, from life-long mycorrhizal friendships, to pathogens waiting in dark alleys. Roots also meet other roots, from the same species and from different ones, growing all around, p...
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The importance of being sticky

The composition of the cell walls of land plants allows them to grow upright and gives them a sturdy structure that is essential for living out of water. This is possible thanks to a complex matrix made of cellulose fibrils, proteins and polysaccharides. One of these polysaccharides is called Xyloglucan, and it sticks cellulose fibrils together in a dynamic way. For a while sc...
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Feeling the (pollen tube) force

If you think about a pollen grain that, after all of that bee-hitchhiking, has landed on the sweet stigma of the right flower, you might think that it has finally arrived. But from the pollen grain’s point of view its active struggle has just started – it now has to penetrate through the stigma tissue to localise and fertilise the ovule. Most of the research carried out on thi...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 219:4, September 2018

Dawn light filters through fog between the trees. The scent of needles rises as the air warms. Leaves drip. Emily Burns walks between redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) on the Californian coast. Donning a helmet and harness, Emily clips onto a rope and climbs high into the canopy. As she ascends, the light brightens and the fog thins. Finally reaching a height of 72 metres, Emily...
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The flora and fauna of Magdalen College

In a guest post for the New Phyt blog, Sandy Hetherington introduces a new exhibition, 'The Flora and Fauna of Magdalen College' currently on display in Magdalen College, Oxford, UK, which celebrates the links between Magdalen College and New Phytologist. The aim of the exhibition is to celebrate both the zoological and botanical history of the College. The fauna side of the...
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