Department of
Plant Biology

Plant Biology News

Intact wilderness - Exploring the cloudiest forest in Central America

The Fortuna Hydrological Reserve hosts one third of Panama’s tree species, a variety of fungi waiting to be discovered and a great potential to offset global warming

Lisa Ainsworth Named 2021 Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year

Lisa Ainsworth has been named the 2021 Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for her scientific achievements.

Professor Amy Marshall-Colon Receives Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award

What effects does environmentally induced "stress" have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US - and soon also as a guest professor at the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 Euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15 to August 15, 2022.

Campus-Wide Innovation Prize 2021 Finalists!

The Technology Entrepreneur Center in The Grainger College of Engineering is pleased to announce 2021 finalists of the campus-wide innovation awards, to include SIB's own Gabe Price. The Illinois Innovation Prize (IIP) for $20,000 is awarded annually to a creative and passionate student working towards innovative solutions that could have a positive societal impact.

Not just CO2: Rising temperatures also alter photosynthesis in a changing climate

Agricultural scientists who study climate change often focus on how increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will affect crop yields. But rising temperatures are likely to complicate the picture, researchers including co-author Carl Bernacchi report in a new review of the topic.

College of LAS announces teaching award winners

Honorees will be celebrated in April along with last year's winners

The College of LAS has selected winners of this year’s teaching excellence awards. Twelve professors (including Wendy Yang from Plant Biology), graduate student teaching assistants (including Nicholas Anderson from Entomology), and an advisor (to be announced) are honored for their service.

Trade‐offs tip toward litter trapping: Insights from a little‐known Panamanian cloud‐forest treelet

Each plant's development unfolds along many trade‐off axes. One common trade‐off is engendered by the differential allocation of tissues to harvest essential resources from the surrounding environment. Generally, photosynthetic leaves capture light energy and carbon dioxide, whereas roots take up water and mineral nutrients.

Corn and other crops are not adapted to benefit from elevated carbon dioxide levels

The U.S. backs out of the Paris climate agreement even as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels continue to rise. Through photosynthesis, plants are able to turn CO2 into yield. Logic tells us that more CO2 should boost crop production, but a new review, involving co-author Stephen Long, the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences, from the University of Illinois shows that some crops, including corn, are adapted to a pre-industrial environment and cannot distribute their resources effectively to take advantage of extra CO2.

To predict how crops cope with changing climate, 30 years of experiments simulate future

Five years ago, the United Nations committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. Since then, however, world hunger has continued to rise. Nearly 9 percent of our global population is now undernourished, according to a 2020 report from the FAO, and climate variability is a leading factor driving us off course.

Super-resolution microscopy and machine learning shed new light on identifying fossil pollen grains

Plant biology researchers at the University of Illinois and computer scientists at the University of California Irvine have developed a new method of fossil pollen identification through the combination of super-resolution microscopy and machine learning. The team, led by Dr. Surangi Punyasena and Ms. Ingrid Romero (associate professor and graduate student in Plant Biology, respectively), developed and trained three convolutional neural network models to identify fossil pollen specimens from an unknown group of legumes.